Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

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AwkwardStereo
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Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #723134

Thread on temporary hiatus. See here.

Campaign 140
► Show Spoiler
Last edited by AwkwardStereo on Fri May 03, 2024 11:04 pm, edited 31 times in total.
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Omega_DarkPotato
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by Omega_DarkPotato » #723189

Hi stereo I'm omega
Super Aggro Crag wrote:This is what u get when u let people into your community
play opus: echo of starsong
I'm an admin, typically on /tg/station Sybil. If you've got anything you'd like to say about me, my adminning, or my decisions, please comment in my admin feedback thread!
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by Not-Dorsidarf » #723249

Long war 1! Now this is in for the long haul.
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kieth4 wrote: infrequently shitting yourself is fine imo
There is a lot of very bizarre nonsense being talked on this forum. I shall now remain silent and logoff until my points are vindicated.
Player who complainted over being killed for looting cap office wrote: Sun Jul 30, 2023 1:33 am Hey there, I'm Virescent, the super evil person who made the stupid appeal and didn't think it through enough. Just came here to say: screech, retards. Screech and writhe like the worms you are. Your pathetic little cries will keep echoing around for a while before quietting down. There is one great outcome from this: I rised up the blood pressure of some of you shitheads and lowered your lifespan. I'm honestly tempted to do this more often just to see you screech and writhe more, but that wouldn't be cool of me. So come on haters, show me some more of your high blood pressure please. 🖕🖕🖕
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #723250

I've just finished March 5th with no new missions. Had I gotten lucky with a mission or 2, there's a couple greedy things I could have done to really come out of March swinging. Quite sad, but it was always a long shot trying to pull off a satellite rush. Had those missions come through, with the money and materials, I could have churned out a 2nd satellite before the end of March to give a nice boost to my end of month review. Building these satellites requires careful timing to both minimize the risk they get shot down while also still providing maximal benefits. Shooting satellites up in the middle of the month leaves a window of time for the aliens to send a mission to shoot it down, both increasing panic, blowing the money spent on it, and the money I would have gotten from it at the end of the month. It'd be a "real pisser", to put it lightly. So, satellites that are built are ideally moved into position at the very end of the month on the 30th. I'm pretty sure every month is 30 days (might be 31), so forgive any violations of the Gregorian calendar, they did it for the gameplay.

I'll use this time to quickly go over some of the base's on going projects.

The Situation Room
The children yearn for satellites.

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Here, the status of all Council Members' panic can be seen as well as who currently has satellite coverage.

Starting in France, our first (and currently only) satellite is placed overhead. Satellites will provide information on certain alien operations in the area that normally wouldn't be available among other things that aren't important right now. I don't recall the minutia of what missions become possible with them, but there's a few mission types the aliens can run at the strategy layer that will go completely uncontested because I can't see what's going on. Every Council Member is going to want a satellite and for the rest of the campaign I will be spammed with requests to give a satellite to someone, regardless of how practical it is. These requests will be largely ignored for a long time because satellites are expensive, take a long fucking time to build, and are gated by Satellite Uplink capacity. There's no amount of money that will do any good if I can't process the information being received from these satellites. There's already requests from Canada and the UK to transfer a satellite to them that I am just going to ignore for now. I have a long time to fulfill these requests, but if this campaign is anything like what I've done in the past these guys can kiss my ass.

Even worse, I would still need an interception force actually capable of defending these satellites. The aliens are perfectly capable of shooting down every satellite I can put up. A few times I have even managed to lose my starter satellite. Expanding to another continent means I have to field a whole other air force. A new continent needs to be staffed with a newly built fleet of Interceptors that is expensive to maintain and exclusively defends that air space. AFB Europe is in no way capable of assisting AFB North America until the end game. Expanding to a new continent is a pretty big deal with a much higher cost than "just" the satellite over them. Fortunately, multiple bases do not need to be maintained, just multiple air forces.

Examining the current panic situation shows already a few potentially worrisome thorns. I got some unlucky RNG on the panic dispersion with the United Kingdom and Germany having a pretty high starting panic. Being that this is my starter continent, I'll want to make it a priority to reduce these when possible. Completing missions in these areas is the most consistent way to do that. Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, and India are also pretty elevated but I don't really give a shit about them right now since they aren't Europe. No matter what I do, at least 1 Council Member is going to be dipping out. There's a scripted subversion operation that will happen very early in the game that will automatically cause a member nation to back out of the XCOM project. This is a mission that the aliens can run more than once but is very expensive to do. There won't be any way to really deal with those, but we can bring people back into the fold later down the line. One of the most disastrous thing that could happen is the first subversion mission takes out a member of the European continent. Even worse if RNGesus decides to send it to Russia. In the past I would just remake the campaign and start again since the past 5 days would realistically only take about 20 minutes to get to in a normal playthrough of mine.

I intend to play the campaign out until the game over screen. Losing Russia out the gate would be the single worst possible thing that could happen in the first month though.

Research
Absolutely no explosives allowed inside.

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Xenobiology is one of three possible researches available to me at the beginning of the game. This introductory research doesn't do much for me right now, but upon completion it will allow Council Members to put in requests for Sectoid corpses. This will start the steady roll of bartering offers that will shield council members in the future from panic increases like terror missions or bombing runs. If I get lucky, I can have a couple fully "shielded" countries before the first year is over. Getting these shields up will allow me to do some really fucking stupid things with minimal consequences. On a nation with a full shield, I could completely fail a terror mission and incur only minor terror penalties because I sold dead toddlers to them for a good deal. This research basically has to be taken to progress the overarching story, but doing this first to begin rolling in Council Requests is the priority.

Alien Weaponry would take me down the path toward getting laser weaponry, the first tech level after ballistics (the default level). It would unlock SCOPEs (a literal scope) for construction which would provide a +10 aim bonus to soldiers with it in their inventory. Scopes are kind of expensive this early in the game and won't be bought in large quantities. This research project doesn't provide any strategic benefit aside from putting laser weapons on the table after it, unlike starting with Xenobiology; which would provide immediate strategic benefit. The enemy I face is strong, and it will only get stronger, but tactical upgrades in March and April aren't super necessary right now. Laser rifles themselves would be really fucking awesome, since all laser tier weapons provide an aim bonus to the wielder as well as bonus damage. With the low level (and equally lower aim) roster I possess, they could really use that bonus aim. But they can live without it for a very long time...

The final research available out the gate is Alien Materials, another research that provides tactical upgrades. Specifically it allows the construction of an armor insert that would increase the HP of my troops in battle by 2. I'll want a few of these later, but they're not needed right now.

Of course, all these research projects lead to other projects that will need to be done later. With my research division staffed by 10 of the cheapest interns that could be mustered, it's going to take fucking forever (15~21 days) just to complete 1 research project. The sectoid corpse trade ins will help with this, as one of the possible rewards I can get from that is science personnel.

Engineering
I'm givin'er all she's got, Captain!

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Behold the Ant Hill that is XCOM HQ. It's pretty fucking empty right now. I start the campaign with just a single satellite uplink capable of handling a whole one satellite in orbit. Yeah, nobody thought that aliens would actually invade, so I gotta make do with what I have. The additional satellite uplink being constructed will be paired with another satellite that was started on the 1st. These two things consumed all 400 starting dollars I had. At the least, constructing buildings adjacent to each other will provide additional bonuses. These two satellite uplinks on their own would only be able to hand 1 satellite each. Together though, they are capable of handling 3. Astronomical savings.

The only other thing to note about the base is that it was a bit unlucky that both steam vents were generated in the lowest depths of the base. It'll be a bit expensive to build to them, but constructing thermo-generators over them would provide the base with a shitload of power. But that's a long long way away.

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The first satellite is still well under way. Again, this and the Uplink have taken all of my starting dollars leaving nothing else. This is still only Day 5 in the overarching campaign, so this isn't out of the ordinary. If I wanted I could sell some of the spoils from the first mission to build a motion tracker or two, but those won't really be needed until the first UFOs start appearing. Yeah, that could be any day now, but the motion trackers aren't essential. They'd just make things a shitload easier.

I do have a bold and particularly greedy overarching strategy that I hope I still know how to do. If I can pull it off (about 4~5 months away from now) the killing will be real good for a couple months before I get put back in my place.

Correspondence
Hello there!
Omega_DarkPotato wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 3:52 pm Hi stereo I'm omega
:wave::doge:

Not-Dorsidarf wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 10:48 pm Long war 1! Now this is in for the long haul.
Easily one of my favorite games/mods of all time. Every time I put it down I always come back eventually.
Last edited by AwkwardStereo on Wed Mar 27, 2024 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #723400

March 6th
Operation Hidden Crown - Guadalajara, Mexico.

The 2nd tactical mission has come and gone. Abduction Response will be one of the most ordinary mission that the troops will be going on. There's no hidden tricks that the aliens can bring on these missions, but there is always the ever present danger of things going tits up from 1 mistake or misroll turning a day at the beach into a shark attack. Information about the mission site is always sparse, usually only getting a single word or static phrase to describe the terrain that can be expected. I can never be certain what map I will actually be playing on until I am loading into the mission itself. However, even with a passing familiarity of what maps can appear and their associated descriptors, informed enough decisions can be made for the loadouts of the boys and girls of XCOM. This isn't always accurate though. There's a couple maps that receive descriptors that are only technically correct that can dramatically change my expected line of thought as I quickly have to come to terms with reality. There have been multiple times in the past where I have had to make do with suboptimal kit in maps not suited for the gear I brought.

This particular mission's map descriptor was "Settlement: One or more small structures in a remote location."

This information tells me there will be man made structures, which are fragile to non-Sapper High Explosive grenades. Terrain and cover pieces have their own health. There are some terrain and cover pieces that without Sapper might as well just be immune to destruction. I know my rookies can take HE grenades into the mission to destroy some cover on their own because of the "Settlement" descriptor. This will open up enemies to being shot to death, allowing me to set up my rookies for promotion and being able to keep the corpse afterwards. Were it a different descriptor, something where I might expect loads of indestructible cover (like Roadway for example), I would bring some flashbangs to be able to brute force my way forward and break overwatch crawls from the enemy.

► Show Spoiler

Here's the guys and gals that I'm taking on this mission. Long War by default puts rookies in red uniforms for... reasons you can imagine. Since I'm a nerd, I went into the config and changed it to the beige default uniform of vanilla. From left to right we have...

VEGA and RichardMFNixon, carrying a Medkit and an AP grenade.
RazorFC and Neutral, carrying a smoke and AP grenade.
Acer202 and Diaspora, carrying an HE and AP grenade.

Every rookie is carrying an Anti-Personnel grenade so that in the event they don't have a good shot on an enemy, they can at least throw the grenade to try for the kill. I need every single one of my remaining 34 rookies to promote and everyone carrying the AP grenade is my "guarantee" that it will happen. Again, rookies only have 65 aim by default. Against even low cover their chance to hit is only 35%. Enemies killed with AP grenades count as being destroyed by an explosive and their corpse will not be awarded at the end of the mission. All things considered, a few missed space bucks and cadavers is worth being able to give my rookies the highest chance they can at promoting. I don't want to go into April and beyond with people who can't at least bring something other than a grenade throwing arm.

Carrying 2 Medkits is a bit overkill, but I prefer it to the alternative. I can use 1 Medkit to patch an injury, and the 2nd to save anyone who goes down into the critical state. If someone goes down into crit and I don't have a way to stabilize them, my only options are to let them die or complete the mission before they bleed out. In default XCOM you are able to see how many turns you have before they bleed out. In Long War, you have anywhere between 2~4 turns and no way of knowing how long exactly. There may be a research item later in the game where this information becomes revealed, but I forget. At least for now, the 2 Medkits are me giving myself an out for fucking up in some stupid way. It's more likely that anyone getting shot is just going to die but I've seen too many people who could've been saved with 1 more medkit bleed out on the floor because I wanted 1 more grenade.

There is a saying in XCOM. "Half cover is no cover and full cover is half cover". I don't agree with that statement entirely, but half cover being no cover is something I can agree with. Half cover provides 30 defense to an unflanked unit behind it. Full cover provides 45 defense. Enemies like to shoot at people they have the highest chance of hitting. If you have 5 people in full cover and 1 in half cover, the enemy is going to shoot at the 1 person who wasn't able to get a good spot. Whenever I take half cover I want to be able to minimize the chances that my people are going to get hit. If I don't, they will get focused. I'm only fighting sectoids and drones for now, which are not frontline combat castes. These are the aliens' scouting party. Later on, anyone who has to sit in half cover will either be hunkering down or bathing in smoke because if they aren't they will get focused by aliens who are frontliners. Smoke Grenades provide 20 defense to units within its AOE, but that's enough to give them 55 defense. Safe enough.

I've already gone over the HE grenades. Since this is a mission where I can expect human terrain features, the HE grenades are there for me to brute force my way through cover.

All of my rookies are equipped with assault rifles for their 3~5 damage band. I want to give my people the best chance at killing what they hit to increase my action economy. I can overcome their low accuracy by grenading cover and getting close to the enemy. In a hypothetical, I have a coverless sectoid with 3 health standing in the open. If I give my rookies a carbine and a laser sight, they now have a 75% chance to hit their target, and a 50% chance to crit. Their total damage band, if we include the damage bonus from a crit, can deal anywhere between 2 and 5 damage. In the multiverse of bullshit there is 1 possibility where Sectoid McBulbous Face survives. If I cared enough to do math then I could tell you exactly how much of a chance the greyling has to survive. As it is, the chance is non-zero and this is unacceptable. With the assault rifle and grenade, I have a rifle that if it connects, will kill the sectoid and has 2 chances at 1 shotting drone. In a utopian society I would be able to just give them all shotguns, but sadly that is locked until they promote for the first time.

Additionally, they are all wearing the highest HP armor they are allowed to. They start with 4 HP and their armor gives them a bonus 2. There's another armor choice that I have called the TacVest that provides only 1 bonus HP (for a total of 5) but confers additional mobility. The sectoids are capable of rolling a 5 on a non-crit. If my troops get hit in a TacVest, even if they don't get crit, there is a chance that they die instantly. At least with the TacArmor, the enemy has to roll a crit in order to 1 shot someone. If I were playing without Strict Screening, some of my troops would only have 3 HP. Even wearing a TacArmor they'd still be one-shottable. Another reason I like Strict Screening. It may be less fun, but it is more consistent.

Everyone is also equipped with a pistol, but if I have to have a Rookie pistol something to death I am either swagging on the enemy so hard I can afford to play stupid, or I am completely and utterly fucked. Without the Ranger perk their to hit chance is going to be awful at anything that isn't within spitting distance.

With the loadouts out of the way we can finally get into the actual mission.

► Show Spoiler

Welcome to Mexico's Guadalajara Observatory, AO for Operation Hidden Crown. The OP names are randomly generated, but hopefully in the future there will be some funny ones worth reading for a cheap chuckle. Every mission I get an approximation of how many enemies there are in the form of a one word call out of Light, Medium, Heavy, and Swarming. This mission had "Heavy" assigned to it. This isn't actually as bad as it sounds so long as I properly manage my enemies.

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This map is exactly one of the ones I wanted to see. The walls of the buildings will be tissue paper to the HE grenades I brought with me. Some terrain pieces are still totally immune to destruction but easily flankable due to how much LOS they block for anyone trying to use it. Additionally, there is powerful high ground accessible on the roofs of the two domed buildings. I'll want to take control of those rooftops to shoot down on the enemies. I forget how much aim bonus I get from being higher than the enemy, but I'll be taking anything I can get. The only downside to taking the rooftops is that the cover is fragile and exclusively half cover. Fortunately, the smoke grenades I brought will make them better than sitting on full cover and it is highly unlikely the weapons my enemies possess will destroy it on a stray hit. Not outside the realm of possibility though. I'll spoil you now and tell you that that never happens this mission. Later in the campaign certain enemies will have grenades or high power rifles that make destruction of cover a real possibility.

► Show Spoiler

The team spawned in one of the best places they could for this mission. Nestled deep into a corner of the map with high terrain features to block line of sight. At all stages of the game I want to limit how much of the map I explore. Enemies never patrol alone, instead acting as a cluster or "pod" of enemies. When one enemy sees me, all members of that pod are activated and will begin taking active action against XCOM operatives. Ideal engagements take place against a single pod of enemies versus my squad. The worst thing that can happen is I reveal and activate another pod of enemies at the end of my turn. With the building situated right in front of my face, I can rush into it and further limit how much of myself I expose to the map. Rooms in a building are often only exposed to where you came from and whatever is inside of it. Enemies can still patrol around and open up doors, but those are clues that I can exploit for my own advantage.

Present on the map are Meld canisters, but because it is March, the aliens are dirt fucking poor. For the entirety of the month these canisters are only worth 5 each and most maps will only have 2 on them. In April they will be worth more. It'd be nice to collect them since my strategy ultimately will be very intensive on this resource, but it just isn't worth playing fast for it right now.

► Show Spoiler

Included in this image is an indicator for the direction of Meld canister, which can be ignored. The red circle is where a patrol of sectoids has moved from. I know they're somewhere in front of me, but not exactly sure. There's cheeky tactic called "tile scanning" where you examine tiles you have no line of sight over to see if your troop can move there. If the space appears empty, but you are unable to move to it, it is highly probable there is an enemy standing there. This only works if I have a unit actually capable of moving there. You may call this cheating, but the enemy is going to have it's own suite of cheats to use on me. I'm going to be playing with every card I have because that's exactly what the AI is going to do. After tile scanning past the door, I know there's at least something in front of me. Sound cues and the fact it's March mean it's a Sectoid patrol. There could be anywhere between 2 and 4 of the buggers.

► Show Spoiler

Opening the door reveals 3, and they hook hard left to get into cover. Fortunately, none of them take any hard cover positions. Unfortunately, all of them are in indestructible cover. This is a problem for the AP grenades to solve, but it isn't the only thing I can do. With how close they are, and the fact they're all in half cover, I can try to brute force some 35% shots and use grenades to finish off the rest. Neutral also has just enough mobility to be able to make it to the high ground and get a 55% chance shot. I still decide to open with an AP grenade from Diaspora to try and lower their HP. In half cover they have .33 DR, or a 33% chance to reduce damage by 1. Even with the 3-5 band, there is a small chance that a direct hit will still not kill them. I also don't have the best position for everyone to be able to take a shot with decent cover. Again, I want to maximize efficiency. This may be an easy engagement, but moving people into the open will leave them in the wind if I don't manage to kill everything, and the only direction I can push is outward, which could reveal more enemies. I'll just try to throw the grenade to kill 1 of them and wing the o-

► Show Spoiler

Well that simplifies things. Perhaps in Diaspora's future there is an Engineer career. Neutral's high ground position is enough to take care of the last one and I send the troops to take the roof. Every rookie needs to come out of this mission with at least 1 kill in order to promote, so Diaspora and Neutral are going to be back burnered until everyone gets their bag or shit goes south. While the promotions are a priority, ultimately everyone returning to base alive is the highest one.

► Show Spoiler

Behold, Overwatch Crawl. I want to maintain this high ground position for an overwatch ambush on a patrol. This would give my guys a roughly 55% chance to hit anyone passing by, and since most pods have 3 guys at this point there's a good chance that the lads wipe them out entirely. Sadly, I stayed here for 5 minutes overwatching and nothing came forth. The rest of the mission is a sweep and clear. I know the enemies are in the darkness ahead of me from audio cues, I am just not certain where exactly. There is a path to my right I can take that will let me get close without revealing any unwanted terrain.

► Show Spoiler

You may not like it, but this is what peak efficiency is. Stuffing 6 guys and gals into a box. Again, I know there's a pod of enemies just ahead of me. Outside the door is a large delivery truck to block LOS into the building across the street which will let me get very close to the enemy. Close range is exactly where I want to be to get the lads into grenading range and hopefully get some proximity bonuses for their aim.

► Show Spoiler

2 sectoids and a drone. And the drone retreated deeper into the building. There's good odds the drone landed on the ground so I'll want to get aggressive here to give myself the best chance of killing it before it can start flying. The sectoids also take up positions against some brickwork. HE grenades were brought for just this moment.

► Show Spoiler

Unfortunately, one of them retained a cutout of brickwork for his huddled form. Still, it's a down grade from his previous full cover. RazorFX takes a long range shot on the exposed sectoid and nails them. VEGA pushes up and reveals that I was right, the drone had in fact landed. Now is my best chance to kill it before it takes flight.

► Show Spoiler

VEGA drops the bag and RichardMFNixon catches the rebound with a 5 maxroll, reduced to 4, killing the drone in 1 shot. Had he been using a Carbine it would have survived just then to continue be annoying. The last sectoid is grenaded by Acer202. Everyone but VEGA has their kill needed to promote, but there's still more aliens yet to die. After ending my turn here, another pod of 3 sectoids patrols into my guys. Pushing any further from my positions while engaging the previous pod could very likely have activated these guys and made things very difficult.

► Show Spoiler

The positions they've chosen are a bit awkward for me to engage as they are perpendicular to my current position, forcing me to wheel my guys outward in order to be able to see them and also avoid a cheeky flank from the 3rd sectoid. Unfortunately, they have fallen for the trap of taking cover next to conveniently explode-able brickwork.

► Show Spoiler

How tragic. I use Razor, who at this point already has a promotion, to snipe the furthest sectoid. I want to engineer the situation so I can safely get VEGA a kill. Bonus points if it happens to end the mission. VEGA sadly can't quite reach this free kill so I push her up and get rea-

► Show Spoiler
4 drones are revealed by this maneuver. Now the danger of moving anywhere is revealed. Fortunately, this is not as bad as it seems. The smoke grenades I brought should protect me from whatever volley they levy against me this turn. RichardMFNixon moves into position against the last sectoid and turns its communist brains into a fine orange mist. The smoke grenade I throw is primarily to protect the 3 fellows in half cover, but I need to be careful because the sphere denoting the smoke grenade's splash is not entirely accurate. At the most extreme edges it may not cover everyone.
► Show Spoiler
Sadly, VEGA, who was one of the people who needed it most, gets missed because like an idiot I tried to smoke everyone instead of the 3 people in half cover who needed it. You can tell they are unsmoked because they have no green arrow on their status HUD. They take a 3 damage hit reduced to a 2 damage chip on the plate. Fortunately, Long War models Life Health and Armor Health differently. The HP conferred as a bonus to wearing armor can be freely lost without incurring an injury at the end of the mission. Had the 3 point hit been unmitigated by the .33 DR, VEGA would have been out for a few days. I forget if this behavior is native to vanilla since all the HP blips are the same color there.

► Show Spoiler

The drones take up positions in an awkward place for me. In order to grenade them I'd have to push into their formation to land the grenades in a spot where they will actually deal damage. Not super ideal since there's no guarantee the grenades will kill them. If I stay exactly where I am, one of the drones can push into my formation and take a flank shot. The other drones will get close enough that they won't care their shots aren't ideal, they'll just pick someone and spam at them. So if I can't push into them, and I can't stay where I am, the only option is to just pull back and break line of sight. Without LOS of my squad, the drones will very likely do something stupid that I can exploit. I decide to split my squad up so they can both take positions on opposite roof tops. It'll let my guys get better eyes on all the possible places the drones can wander off to and I can react appropriately to their presence.

► Show Spoiler

Initial peeks out of cover revealed no drones. Not out of the ordinary considering their ability to just fly around and be annoying. Deeper probing revealed that they were working their way slowly to where I had clown carred everyone into the same room. Again, it's too awkward a position to push into. I can't get all of my team on line to lay into them but they're also too far to be a threat to anyone. I move my people back into concealment and wait another turn before peeking again.

► Show Spoiler

With Diaspora peeking out from the opposite rooftop, I get a good view on the dronely menaces. The drones with the green arrows are currently considered "flying". These guys will be pretty annoying to shoot at, but these 3 are clustered together really tightly. Prime targets to have AP grenades thrown at them.

► Show Spoiler

The landed drone is a priority target that only Diaspora can shoot at. Poor positioning the previous turn leaves the other 2 on the rooftop unable to peer over the ledge to get on line to engage the drones. She takes aim and strikes true, max rolling to overmatch the drones successful damage reduction.

► Show Spoiler

RazorFX throws an AP grenade at these two, but only tickles them. Despite the fact that the drone in the building has an entire roof between it and the point of impact, explosives can damage anything inside its AOE regardless of what's between them. AP grenades are the only exception to this, being unable to deal damage to enemies that are in cover against the point of impact.

► Show Spoiler

Neutral chucks another AP grenade; scoring a 5 against a full HP drone pushed up against my guys and finishing off the one inside the building.

► Show Spoiler

The last drone is in no position to significantly threaten any of my troops, so I have RichardMFNixon toss another AP grenade. Here, we see what is possible at any point. A low roll of 1 successfully reduced to 0 because of the drone's DR.

► Show Spoiler

Acer202 takes the last shot of Operation Hidden Crown and kills the final enemy on the map.

► Show Spoiler

The troops return having killed 13 aliens and suffering zero (flesh) wounds.

► Show Spoiler

And here we have the promotions.

RazorFX and Acer202 promote into Support, capable of being promoted into Engineers or Medics.
RichardMFNixon and VEGA promote into Tactical, capable of being promoted into Assaults or Infantry.
Neutral promotes into Weapons, the tree for Rocketeers or Gunners.
Diaspora promotes into Scout-Sniper, capable of promoting into... Scout or Sniper.

RichardMFNixon and VEGA will remain unpromoted alongside all other Tactical promotees until April so they can benefit from the satellite I'll be putting over Russia. Every country that I put a satellite over will give me a new bonus in some category or another. Russia in particular gives newly promoted Infantry and Assault troopers an additional hitpoint. Assaults and Infantry already get an additional hitpoint for promoting into their respective trees, so with Russia, they'll be gaining 2 whole hitpoints for a total base HP of 6. With TacArmor, they'll have 8 HP total. Having that much health going into April is going to really help these guys stay alive. Again, the Spetsnaz +1 HP bonus is not retroactive.

The only missions this month that will have promoted troops present on them will be any UFO shootdowns and the Council Mission. Assaults and Infantry bring a lot of power, but for just March we can survive without. The UFO shootdowns will only be taking 1 specific class, but I will save that mystery for when we get there.

Out of the 13 aliens killed, only 7 corpses were recovered because of all the grenading that was done. 4 sectoids and 3 drones. The material haul is also equally unimpressive, but for now I don't really care. I have enough to do the research projects I need to do. Mexico graciously donates 100 space bucks to the XCOM cause for services rendered and the mission completion reduces panic very slightly. Their panic was pretty high to start with, so this wasn't a bad place to have a mission occur in, but again, I want more missions in the UK and Germany to lower their panic. I don't care very much about North America right now.

40 of the 100 dollars I got are spent to build 2 motion detectors. These won't be used on any of the abduction missions as the equipment slots will be needed for the variety of grenades and medkits, but they'll be very useful on the UFO shootdowns that I will hopefully get...

As a final note, a few of the lads from the first mission who came back fatigued are now ready for service. Only like 8 people are actually going to get promoted this month and I don't know or frankly care who, it'll just depend on who is closest to the top of the roster when those fateful missions roll around.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by mrmelbert » #723486

This is an excellent write up.

Last I remember Long War 1 took like 500 days to complete though...
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #723493

mrmelbert wrote: Fri Mar 08, 2024 1:33 am This is an excellent write up.

Last I remember Long War 1 took like 500 days to complete though...
My "I'm Stereo" campaign of terrorism took about as long. The difference between this and that is that I really love playing Long War. Disappear off the face of the earth for 6 months playing campaign after campaign kind of love. Of course that degenerate level binge really burned me out hard, so my hope is the long time frame will keep it interesting for me while also allowing me to pursue other things on the days where nothing happens. Usually I play other very unrelated games and flip through the UFOpaedia. Already learned a few things to keep an eye out for while also refreshing on some long lost knowledge.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #723754

March 11th
Operation Hot Tears - Johannesburg, South Africa

It is now Day 11. During the lull in alien activity, they've since completed a couple of their Harvest missions for the month of March. I never mentioned these in the earlier analysis of the month's potential missions because these aren't missions I am likely to see. These missions almost exclusively target countries who do not have satellite coverage on them. Should they "accidentally" target a country that has a satellite overhead, the aliens have a chance to reroll the mission to another country. This doesn't mean much to me right now, minus the fact that Meld canisters are now worth slightly more. Still not worth dying over, but if I can safely acquire some I'll try for it. The aliens will spend the resources they've gained to run another schedule in April.

The next mission for XCOM is a Heavy Abduction taking place on a "Roadway" map. Terrain features on this map are almost the exact opposite of what I would expect on a Settlement map. Cover is sparse and often indestructible in the form of abandoned or burned out cars. Without the Sapper trait I can't even explode these cars. Later in the game, these maps will become a bit easier to manage with Rocketeers and Engineers blowing up the cars for big damage against aliens taking cover against them. Because of this the loadouts seen in the previous mission are going to be slightly tweaked.

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Behold the squad for this mission.

MysteryMeat and Baizen are packing AP and flash grenades.
Bill and JohnBlazed are bringing AP grenades and medkits.
Vallvaka and Grobelon are bringing AP and smoke grenades.

I've already gone over my decision making process for the AP, smoke, and medkits, but making their first appearance are the flash grenades. Due to the indestructible nature of the cover pieces I'll be facing, the flashbangs are meant for me to control mobs and generally set people up to advance and kill. These grenades dramatically reduce the aim and movement of those caught in the AOE, also cancelling Suppression and Overwatch. Psionic mobs, such as sectoids, will still be able to cast their psi abilities with impunity though. Drones themselves are also completely immune. Compared to HE and AP grenades, they also have a smaller AoE. My hope is that any stalemate I encounter can be broken with these, as HE grenades are very unlikely to accomplish anything.

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Welcome to Street Overpass. This is another narrow map, much like the first mission. Unlike the first map though, there is no clean line of sight obstruction running straight down the middle of the map. There's a small area in the middle with high walls but plenty of openings. Poor positioning while engaging a pod can result in pulling another on my flank, turning an awkward firefight into a dire ambush. This is not one of my favorite maps. That's less to do with actual preference and more with the loadout I am bringing and the full rookie lineup. With Snipers, Scouts, and Rocketeers it can be easier to punch through the map by taking long flank shots, running overwatches, and exploding cars to make openings. Much of my previous experience is foggy. Seeing this map shot dread through my heart like a lightning bolt.

Many opportunities to advance or score flanks were lost over the course of this mission because cover was spaced so far apart that the low mobility of my rookie's was unable to bound between cover pieces without dashing, taking up all of their action points. I won't point out every individual instance of this. I'll just simply put a foot note here that this was a bad time to get this map.

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Right off the Skyranger, there's nothing that excites me about my spawning position. All of the cover around me is half cover and pushing up could easily initiate contact. I basically crawl out of the LZ at a snail's pace anticipating contact. Getting caught here I'd at least want my troops to make it to the wall in seen in the middle, or the burned out SUV to the front left. Both of these provide valuable high cover if limited engagement space.

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Sadly I get very unlucky here. A patrol of 3 sectoids and a drone enters just the very edge of my LOS, allowing only 1 overwatch shot of 6 to go off. My ability to engage the enemy is incredibly limited. High terrain features limit LOS and even pushing up to the high cover to meet the enemy in a straight fight presents many challenges. I can't actually engage the enemy effectively due to the limited positions that can actually see the enemy. I have no way of controlling this engagement other than to try and brute force it. The sectoids are too far back, and even if they push, they are likely to still be too far to get good effect on target with the AP grenades. Pushing in this scenario is very dangerous and pulling another pod can be lethal...

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I pull my troops back to break LOS, drop smoke, throw up some overwatch, and steady JohnBlazed's weapon to hopefully deal with the Drone. Steady Weapon is exclusive to assault rifles, carbines, marksman rifles, and sniper rifles, conferring a bonus 20 aim on their next shot. I don't expect the overwatches to hit anything.

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MysteryMeat pleasantly surprises me with a 5 roll against the drone, reduced to 4, on a 24% chance to hit. This simplifies things, as the drone was likely to dive into flanking my troops if it were not dealt with during my next turn. Sadly, my leading troopers Baizen and Bill are suppressed. Even if they weren't there's no good cover for me to engage these sectoids with. If I take the high walls I can easily pull another pod just down the road. The car closest to my troops that would allow them to engage is also only half cover. With my options limited, I decide to go for pushing up against the wall. If I pull another pod I can at least pull everyone back and smoke up to prevent the worst of an ambush.

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MysteryMeat pushes up to nade Bill's suppressor, only rolling a 3. This isn't the worst thing as this allows Bill to push up and secure the kill for his own promotion. Sadly, the rest of the squad is too far back (or in Baizen's case, suppressed) to be able to effectively engage the remaining 2 sectoids.

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The remaining 2 sectoids break and retreat deep into the fog of war. Chasing them isn't the best idea since this is still only the first of pod on the map.

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Just down the road this entire time was a Meld canister. I'd known about it since the fight began, but didn't push for it while engaged with the sectoids. I didn't want to pull another pod and my instincts were rewarded. I get an audio cue that places a pod of enemies between me and the Meld. If there weren't active enemies on the map, it would be pretty easy to push this with the white truck blocking LOS while my guys push up behind it to prep grenades. Sadly, the other pod on the map and the 2 active sectoids curtails this plan. I wait around for a while overwatch camping until I see the sectoid has pushed up against this pod. I decide to engage on it.

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Drones! Sadly, they flew in such a way that I have little confidence in the AP grenades' ability to deal with them. I do still have one more smoke grenade, so I get my guys ready to engage the drones. I am counting on the drones pushing straight into me and being close enough to a terrain feature where I can detonate the grenades in their faces for elods of damage. Vallvaka pulls back into high cover and I prepare the boys and girls with steadied weapons. MysteryMeat is subject to terrain fuckery, and despite being in heavy cover, has the half cover bonuses against incoming fire instead. Fortunately, it misses.

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Vallvaka throws an AP grenade that excellently sets up others for promotions at the cost of their own. JohnBlazed and Grobelon pick up kills here, but one drone survives here. My remaining 2 shooters, Bill and MysteryMeat, push up closer to try and shoot down the last drone. Both of them used their AP grenades earlier. However, it is here that disaster strikes.

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I get too aggressive with MysteryMeat and accidentally pull another pod of 4 sectoids. With most of my troops' actions already over, the only saving grace is that they are so far away as to be minimally threatening for their upcoming turn. I manage to pull them and Bill back, but Vallvaka is hung out in the wind.

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Oh fuck.

The drone that survived pushes up on a flank and scores a nasty 5 damage hit reduced to 4, sending Vallvaka into a panic. MysteryMeat sees this and also panics. Panicking puts these 2 out of action until my next turn. Not the one that I am getting after they got shot. I have to do this turn, survive the aliens' next turn, and then I gain control of my 2 rookies again. Vallvaka's position is incredibly precarious, being in close proximity to the aliens, unable to move, and having absolutely no cover between 4 sectoids and them. MysteryMeat would have been the best equipped to run interference for them since they had a flashbang on them, but since they're panicked too I have to go into my next turn with 4 guys, many of who cannot engage the sectoids threatening Vallvaka due to limited cover and distance. This mission has just gone from ordinary affair to a matter digital of life and death. Decisive action is needed.

Grobelon dashes across the left side of the street to the semi truck to set up for a flank shot against the sectoid on the white truck. This maneuver reveals another sectoid flanking up behind the trailer. The sectoid is too far away to flank Grobelon, which is very lucky as he is unable to overwatch or attack because of the dash. Had this gone uncontested, this would have widened the front on the left, forcing me to stretch out my already thin rookies even further.

Baizen uses his AP grenade against the drone that had flanked Vallvaka, securing his promotion but not ensuring the safety of my other rookie. Bill pushes up to try and cover Vallvaka. It is here that I notice something that could potentially save my panicked kiddo's life.

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They are not flanked by the sectoid down the way from them. I don't have a good explanation for why this is the case. My best guess is that because Vallvaka is in cover perpendicular to the sectoid, with the porta-johns in the way, they are just barely out of sight. If they were in cover parallel to the sectoid, their step out presence would be observable to the sectoid. Think of "step out presence" as a weird quantum positioning quirk. In order to shoot, entities have to actually "step out" of full cover. Because Vallvaka can't step out to the right (only up and down), they are pressed against the wall and unable to be seen. It's really weird, and I'm not entirely certain that's what is going on, but either way this is extraordinarily good fortune for me. It doesn't get them quite out of the weeds, but if the sectoids don't push up then they should be as safe as can be.

Strange gameplay quirks like this will not be infrequent. Sometimes they will be in my favor, as in this case, and other times it will be in the aliens'.

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JohnBlazed pushes up and gets a near max range kill on one of the left most sectoids. 5 more remain.

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Bill goes on overwatch to cover MysteryMeat and Vallvaka . The AI will make different decisions depending on how my troops are positioned and what they're doing. The hope is that the overwatch will dissuade them from pushing forward to get LOS on Vallvaka. The sectoid flanked by Grobelon on the left decides to high tail it into the fog of war and the sectoids threatening Vallvaka do not push any further up. This still leaves them in a bad position though, since the rear most sectoid went on overwatch. Depending on Vallvaka's movement, they could draw this fire and potentially still die. However, the sectoid is really far away. I decide to engage in tile counting here, not something I do very often.

Humans in XCOM have 1 more tile of sight than all aliens do, Squadsight not withstanding. I forget exactly how much it is, I think it might 16 for aliens and 17 for XCOM. Either way, Vallvaka is just barely able to sneak out of sight and retreat safely into my rear line. Lucky break after lucky break saves their life.

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With my troops most immediately out of danger, I pull them back. I want to break the AI here by breaking LOS with them. Ideally they will push up and flank themselves. While this does happen, MysteryMeat is unable to take advantage of one sectoid's flub and misses wide. With most of my guys on overwatch pending the next alien turn, Baizen manages to score a 3 against a sectoid. Sadly, it was mind merged so it survives.

It's at this point the mission devolves into an awkward game of peek-a-boo cold war. The aliens don't want to push up into me and I don't want to leave my cover to push into them. We awkwardly stare at each other exchanging ineffectual potshots at each other for the remaining 20 minutes of the mission. Trust me, you aren't missing any juicy screenshots. Imagine something like this. The panic inducing "oh shit" part of the mission is now over and it's back to business as usual.

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JohnBlazed manages to score a kill during the cold war at the furthest reach of their LOS.

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This is what the mission looked like for a while. I have very few grenades remaining and almost no ability to get them on line safely.

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Eventually a couple of the remaining sectoids push out on the right trying to get an angle. One flanks itself due to the lack of LOS on my troops allowing Vallvaka to get their promotion. All troops are now promoted for this mission, so long as nobody dies. The sectoid on the left I bullied with my remaining grenades. Sadly I rolled a 2 on my AP grenade, but I flashed it to try and keep it controlled and flankable next turn.

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JohnBlazed is finally able to finish off the left flank allowing me to start maneuvering to finish this mission. There remain 2 more sectoids, both behind the semi truck in the back. Still, it takes about 10 minutes to actually manage to leverage this opening as the Sectoids continue to maintain their position with high cover and overwatch spam.

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After more dancing back and forth, one of the 2 defenders takes half cover instead of full here. I brute force a couple shot and JohnBlazed takes it home. The final alien is unceremoniously killed moments later, as it cannot defend both flanks on the long side of the semi truck.

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The troops come home fully promoted with 11 kills on their belts. JohnBlazed takes an MVP trophy here with 5 kills in this mission.

Bill promotes into a Tactical, entering the inactive roster until the Russia satellite is ready.
JohnBlazed, MysteryMeat, and Grobelon all promote into Support.
Baizen and Vallvaka promote into Weapons.

It's kind of funny to me none of them promoted into Scout-Sniper since a single source of Lightning Reflexes would have made that mission so much easier.

This mission very easily could have spiraled into multiple deaths. My pulling of multiple mobs was very stupid of me, as I went against my better judgement of pushing forward. It was only luck, good fortunate, and some game quirk bullshit that kept the entire squad alive. A mission that should have taken 20 minutes tops wound up taking almost 50. Wew lad.

For the cause, South Africa donates 90 space bucks and has their panic slightly reduced. I use the money to build a Fission Generator for the base. The rest of the day proceeds uneventfully.
Last edited by AwkwardStereo on Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #723986

March 14th
Operation Final Giant

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The air game has officially begun. I won't spoil you with details because I am going to be honest; the air game is really fucking boring. It is literally jpegs jpegging all over each other until one falls out of the sky. It is easily the worst part of Long War and by extension vanilla EW. At least in EW it was easier... If you want an idea of what UFO fights look like, and the cool cutscene you get after shooting it down, you can watch this.

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Flight Officers "Buster" Jones and "Voodoo" Vargas are sent up to give the Will Smith "Welcome to Earth" Special. In Long War's default configuration, much like vanilla, only 1 Interceptor can actually attack the UFO at a time. There are mods that completely rework it into a more nuanced flight system, but I don't care enough to introduce them. XCOM's Top Guns are armed with the high damage, low penetration Avalanche Missiles. These missiles have the ability to one shot and even outright destroy Scout UFOs with a critical hit. For gameplay's sake, in March, there is a setting switched that prevents the outright destruction of UFOs. This will turn off in April allowing outright destroyed UFOs to give XCOM a cash bounty instead of a shootdown mission.

At every opportunity I want to engage UFOs. A UFO that goes unintercepted will add to the aliens' over all tech progression. Of course, this is easier said than done. Even in April, it is possible to encounter Large UFOs that will 1 shot a default Interceptor. For now at least, this small UFO can only be one of the 3 Scouts ordained in the March schedule. If I fail to shoot down a UFO on a scouting mission, a more dangerous Fighter UFO will appear. To be clear, there is the mission the aliens run called a "scouting mission" and a small UFO classified as "Scout". Scouting missions are not always run by Scout crafts.

FO Buster gets a thorough ass whooping from the Scout. Even with the high damage Avalanches, on an aggressive attack pattern, and with The Friendly Skies, I still fail to successfully shoot it down on the first pass. FO Voodoo takes it home and becomes the first fighter pilot to add a UFO to their kill tags. There are minmax exploits that can be employed even in the jpeg fight, but these require the Interceptor to both not get hit in the first volley and also fire its own volley before disengaging. Both interceptions got instantly hit which was unfortunate. Buster is out of action for 16 days and will be back in April. Voodoo is only out for a week.

Sadly, Interceptor pilot names cannot be randomized in the same way that the regular infantry roster can be, so these guys have their own static names. Pilots are also not interchangeable between aircraft but gain experience with each UFO kill they get increasing their aim and their damage. Getting shotdown is unavoidable and instant death for a pilot, so I'll want to keep these guys alive for as long as possible.

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Here we meet our team, including for the first time someone who isn't a rookie.

Up first we have Diaspora returning, who is now promoted into the Scout class. Scouts can either spec to be powerful skirmishers with high action economy efficiency or a more traditional support scouting capacity. The decision on what Diaspora comes out to be later is fortunately a question for another time. What isn't up for debate is their first ability, Lightning Reflexes. The first overwatch made against units with this ability have a 90% reduction in their chance to hit, and subsequent shots have a 70% reduction. This isn't flat defense. If they draw fire from someone with 100 aim, their chance to hit is 10% and 30% respectively. Aliens will get some pretty absurd aim values later.

With their promotion to Scout and acquisition of Lightning Reflexes, they gain 1 mobility over the standard issue rookie and the ability to equip the shotgun. Shotguns have very powerful close range bonuses, but as expected, it has terrible penalties at range. Damage reduction is also 50% stronger against it. A drone with 1 DR gets 1.5 against a shotgun. Even so, the shotgun will allow the Scout to effectively engage Drones in flight with it's powerful proximity bonuses and 4-8 damage band. A drone tickled by an AP grenade can easily be finished with this tool.

This is one of the use cases I have for promoted troops.

In Diaspora's pockets they carry a previously built Motion Detector and a Flashbang. Motion Detectors have a relatively short range, extending only 5 tiles past visual range. Not a lot of wiggle room but a lot of powerful information can be gleamed from something with such relatively short effective range and will be very important in locating a powerful foe I forgot to count in the number of enemies possible in March.

Making their first appearances is Bauer, equipped with the 2nd motion detector and an HE grenade since it's another Settlement map.
Rookies KamikazeBear and Jessica also appear, carrying the team's Medkits.
Last, and certainly not least, is ThirdCaliber. He's bringing the 2nd HE grenade.

If you're wondering where the smokes are, there's a bigger fish to fry on this mission. It is here we'll get the first taste of how horrifically the envelope has been pushed forward with Long War's changes.

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This is the aptly named "Small Scout Nuked City". There's lots of rubble structures here that I'm hoping the HE grenades will have good effect on. Sightlines are long and chaotic here, so it can be difficult to isolate a fight if the enemies aren't killed the instant they appear. Poor management of sightlines can result in a deathspiral of pod activations swarming my team.

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This spawn is nestled into one of the corners of the map. For the sake of ease I'll say that we're in the south-west corner of the map. The UFO is just a short skip down the street to the east of the LZ. I have an initial boost of bravado here. Depending on how I play this, I could very easily clear this map out in record time and recover all Meld canisters. All I need to do is approach the UFO and locate the Outsider. I won't elaborate on these guys yet, but they are incredibly fucking dangerous to say the least.

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Pushing down the street to the east, the Meld is tantalizingly close. However, look in the top left. That's the motion detector showing a lone enemy within the confines of the UFO to the front left of Diaspora. This can only be 1 thing. The Outsider. There's no way to get the Meld without activating him, which is where the greed comes in. Pulling the Outsider will send every remaining pod on the map to their location. This is only 1 layer of the things that make these things so dangerous. However, with a strong enough team, you can kill the Outsider first, alpha strike all of the reinforcing aliens, and clear maps in record time. Not a bad strategy here on a shot down Scout UFO or a Fighter. However, this is not a strong team. Diaspora is on a baby sitting trip with 5 rookies who bring little in the way of support for such a daring plan of action.

The meld will sadly have to be abandoned, and very careful maneuvering to make sure the Outsider is not activated. I'll have to hunt down the rest of the aliens before coming back to finish him off.

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Keep in mind motion detectors have their source at the user, which is the scout off to the team's right. Just ahead of the rookie parade is a small pod of enemies just out of LOS. I'm not certain where exactly, but I ideally want to creep up behind LOS obstructions so I can jump out on top of them.

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As I am encroaching on their position, what should have been a safe move instead activates the enemies. A drone was on the high ground and saw Bauer as they pushed up. Were it not for this drone this plan would have worked flawlessly. Instead of jumping out to massacre the enemies in their beds, I now have to engage in a straight gunfight since Bauer had to dash ahead to get to that position. He'll be safe from return fire, mostly. I try to brute force a bunch of shots on the drone and sadly only graze it for 3, reduced to 2.

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I want to be aggressive here with Diaspora. Their shotgun does nothing sitting on the gun line, so I rush them up aggressively so they can get to the sectoids where ever they maneuver during their turn. Unlike the Abduction missions, the rookies don't need to get kills here. For these shotdown UFOs, at least for March, I want to feed as many kills as I can to these Scouts so they can promote fast. There's a very specific reason for this that I'll elaborate on later. Lots and lots of set up for pay offs later down the road. I promise they will only be marginally worth the wait.

But wait, if Rookies aren't supposed to be getting kills this mission, how are they going to promote? In due time. This will be elaborated on when the squad fights the Outsider.

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Jessica take a 3 point hit from the sectoid here and panics. Fortunately, they do the best thing they can do here and hunkers down. The drone shoots Bauer for 2. If the drone had felt particularly nasty, they could have taken a shot at Jessica which had a small chance of killing them. It was probably just too good an opportunity for the drone to pass up shooting someone in the face, but I have seen the AI do very unusual things in my many hours of play. Bauer takes immediate revenge on the drone that dared and claims a promotion.

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It is here Diaspora has some choices.

At spot A, they can very easily kill the mind merged sectoid or even take a greedy shot at the one mind merging it. In vanilla, this would kill both of them, but in Long War it only deals damage. It can be lethal, but not here. The rookies can even push up and get AP grenades on the survivor. But that strategy only works if the merger is killed, which isn't guaranteed. The likelihood is very high but if it misses Diaspora can easily be killed in retaliation.

At spot B, they can have full cover against the merged sectoid with a certainty of killing them at that range. However, doing so would leave the merger able to flank them from off screen on the left. None of the rookies on the gunline are able to make a play against them to cover Diaspora in any capacity.

Spot C isn't the safest being half cover, but it at least protects them from a flank while still offering a decent chance at killing their target. I opt for this strategy in the end. I'll admit, I was surprised to find that from here it was only a 69% chance to hit. Not very good odds at all. But fortunately Diaspora takes it home hitting the highest damage shot seen so far with a 9 point critical hit. Shotguns man, they go crazy.

KamikazeBear uses his medkit on Hamsterisgo to protect them from any possible cheekiness from the surviving sectoid while Jessica and ThirdCaliber rush up to get into the fight. While the last Sectoid is too far away to threaten Jessica, their hunker down would end at the start of the enemy's turn. You can very easily lose people if you are not aware of this. The final sectoid begins a fighting retreat. Nobody is in a position to be able to stop it. I was hoping an HE grenade from Bauer would explode their cover, but not this time. Rubble is somehow stronger than a pristine brick wall. However, ThirdCaliber takes a 20% shot for the hell of it and blows the toddler's brain out the back of his head. The dude has a lethal reputation and he keeps it up in his XCOM incarnation.

I push the lads up to get ready for more.

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A pod of sectoids patrols into the very edge of Jessica's vision and they get some payback for the 3 point hit they took earlier. The other 2 scurry into the darkness and begin dancing around in fog of war for a while before reappearing later to fight. As they return, ThirdCaliber blows one of them apart with his overwatch shot. The man has nailed a 20% and a 45% so far. The third sectoid watched both his friends get absolutely shit on and decides to run into fog of war to get a pal.

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2 more sectoids patrol into the squad, though sadly do not draw any overwatch fire as only Diaspora could see them. They took a pot shot with their pistol and predictably missed wide. Sadly, my fighting positions here are awkward half cover. Crossing the street isn't easy with an unaccounted for sectoid somewhere about. They could be waiting amongst the cars to pop out and take a free flank shot. I'm gonna be honest, this part of the fight took a really long time, was really boring, and eventually had to be ended with some AP grenades. I would have liked to have fed Diaspora some more but the sectoids played coy any time they got close. They managed to get 1 more with the help of the other HE grenade, while KamikazeBear took the other one down with a 6 point AP grenade.

At this point only Hamsterisgo and Diaspora have not promoted yet.

The last sectoid, survivor from so long ago, make way to retreat into the UFO.

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The little fucker decided to get one last licking in against KamikazeBear. Diaspora can be seen at the bottom of that image lying in wait to take this last sectoid. Retribution is swift, and immediate. Diaspora bags the sectoid, the last Medkit is used to heal Kamikaze. But wait, Stereo, what about if someone gets knocked into crit? I'm going to tell you now, if it comes to that point the entire squad will either be wiped or the mission will end before they bleed out. Yes, the Outsider is that dangerous.

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Now it's time to deal with the Outsider. To give an overview on these guys...

They have 10HP. Assault rifles have a damage band of 3-5 with no crits.
They have 85 aim. Forgetting that Diaspora has a shotgun, they only have 69 right now.
They have a base damage of 6. This doesn't include their damage band, but there is a very low chance anyone survives getting shot by this guy.
They have 3HP regen per turn. For aliens, unless you kill them, they can heal to full with time.
They get suppression and can jump great heights to get height advantage.

These guys are fucking Commandos and it's only 14 fucking days into the campaign. The only saving grace is that they only appear on UFOs and they are almost always stationary inside of it. This static behavior of theirs is what must be exploited in order to safely deal with them. I already know from previous scans that he's somewhere on the closest wall of the UFO to the squad's front left. The drawn approach is safe to creep on, and creep I fucking do. If I accidentally hug the wall to the rubble instead of hugging the UFO it is possible to activate the Outsider early and send everything to hell in a hand basket.

These guys are why there's 2 flashbangs on the OP, one on a rookie, and the other on the Scout. These two are placed in such a way that either of them can get a flashbang on it depending on where it uses its scamper reaction. Their high HP pool is also another reason why the Scout is brandishing the shotgun. With their higher mobility, they can get the shotgun to where it needs to be in order to flank and destroy this powerful foe.

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I initiate contact with the Outsider using a far rookie, specifically Hamsterisgo, the rookie who hasn't promoted yet. This is a dual purpose move. First, the Outsider reacts to them instead of to an operative that is closer to them. I don't want them to retreat deeper into the UFO where I can't get a flank. It can still be worked with, it just gets more dangerous relying on the flashbangs to nuke its accuracy. Secondly, lower level troops simply seeing a higher level enemy gives them XP! Since the Outsider is so dangerous, it counts as being a higher level entity than Hamster! So, now everyone but Diaspora is promoting from this mission... But there's still the Outsider to kill.

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Behold, the optimal strategy for dealing with an Outsider using this squad. With them as the last enemy on the map, I can just swarm him and attack at point blank range. Since all the rookies are promoted, Diaspora is fed the kill so I can fast track their promotion. The rookies whittled it down to make sure the kill goes smoothly, and she shows them what's what by just hitting it for 10 damage with a crit. That is the highest damage the shotgun can do before Diaspora starts getting perks to increase their damage.

All of the drones and sectoids that the troops have been killing have only been worth 24XP, but the Outsider, since they're so dangerous, is worth 48!

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A lot of damage was received this OP, but everyone comes home alive! I was even so fortunate as to recover an intact flight computer from the wreckage. This only mildly makes up for the fact that I missed out on 3 Meld canisters this mission.

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Everyone happily promoted!

Diaspora managed to barely slip a promotion to Lance Corporal in from all the kills they were fed, as well as the final Outsider kill they got. They get the choice between Holo-targeting, Damn Good Ground, and Lone Wolf.
ThirdCaliber and Bauer promote into the Weapons line.
KamikazeBear, Jessica, and fitting Hamterisgo with their 0 kills, all promote into Support.

As an additional note for Hamsterisgo's promotion, the only way that promotion works is if nobody dies on the mission, same as every other one. The mission's base value, plus the flawless bonus, plus seeing the Outsider equals out to the same as if they had participated on a Flawless Abduction with 1 kill. It's part of what makes shot down small UFOs so good for training lower level people, but I don't think Specialists and up can get the bonus from those base Outsiders. They can still get the bonus... if they see a sufficiently high level enemy. There's not just 1 Outsider type out there.

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Zooming forward on the hologlobe to the end of the day, Brazil withdraws from the Council. This is that aforementioned scripted Subversion mission the aliens run. Losing a South American country is honestly one of the best things that could've happened I think. On a final note, the easiest part of the Campaign has now just ended. With the hologlobe ticking over onto March 15th, all Sectoids now gain +1 max HP, for a total of 4. Assault rifles will now no longer guarantee a kill. Drones also gain .2 DR for a total of 1.2.
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #724359

March 18th
Operation Fallen Hymn

At just before 1:00AM the aliens decide to hit Hyogo, Japan. A moderate abduction taking place on an Urban Close Quarters map looks like prime easy breezy material. The AO should be small, with terrain destroyable by rookie-thrown HE grenades, allowing me to just brute force my way through encounters. It may even be possible to acquire some Meld on this mission.

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Meet the squad for this OP.

Jett and Vincent are bringing the AP, HE combo to secure promotions and brute force cover.
Cats and Suvius are Medkits to reduce the risk of death.
ShelteredFreak has a smoke grenade in hand.
Donpedrito is bringing a motion detector because I am just the slightest bit afraid of what could be about to happen.

While I do generally expect favorable results from a CQC map, namely Meld acquisitions and easy fights, there's still always the ever present chance that shit goes to hell in a handbasket. With the gear set, and the girls and boy ready to rock,the Skyranger takes off for Hyogo, Japan.

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The AO preview slide being empty is not something that happens often. I spent a good minute here wondering what this could mean, but could not scrounge up the lost knowledge of my previous runs to know.

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Oh, merciful Mary and Joseph. This is the Japanese graveyard map, ordinarily exclusive to one of the scripted missions that I disabled at campaign start. Long War added many maps not normally in play from vanilla into the regular map pool. This map is one of them. I brought one of the worst teams possible to get through this map. The only saving grace is that this is a medium abduction, and it's just sectoids and drones to deal with. This map features a great deal of cover that only protects from the north and south. It's easy to get flanked here and hard to find good cover depending on how the aliens pull on activation. If they come at the squad from a perpendicular angle the fight gets much harder.

I decide to push the squad up against, for the sake of ease, along the map's east edge. Like everywhere on this map, the full cover faces exclusively protects against north or south, so in a straight fight the bounding firefight that would ensue could easily be broken with grenade spam.

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The first encounter is a pod of drones. Ordinarily, this is actually quite good, especially with how they are clustered up against a terrain feature. It is here, however, that a weakness in my AP spam is shown front and center. Grenades in Long War have damage fall off from the center of the explosion. The strength of AP grenades is their high damage, but that only comes when they're close to the center. Grenades have an AOE of 5.6. Drones typically fly at 6. What isn't well illustrated in this image is that the grenade is only just barely getting a step up to be able to hit the drones, putting them in the furthest (and lower) damage band. No amount of pixel hunting allowed for me to land a grenade on top of the headstone, where the grenades' damage would likely increase. Not even throwing perfectly parallel to the headstone was I allowed to get a good grenade.

After 3 throws like that, 2 drones survive thanks to their now 1.2 DR rolling multiple 2's. Donpedrito manages to shoot one down, but the final drone gets a free action.

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Don has it thrown right back into their face, LOS fortunately cucking the drone out of a flank shot on ShelteredFreak. Cats pushes up and takes revenge, securing their promotion. The squad continues pushing up the east edge of the map, healing Donpedrito to 5/6 HP.

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Further up the way, an awkward pull of 1 drone and 3 sectoids. The Meld is sadly long expired. And this is exactly the kind of fight that makes this map blow ass. Taking the high cover potentially leaves me exposed to the sectoids pushing up and being able to take free flank shots against my troops. I decide to go for it anyway and hope for the best.

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ShelteredFreak takes a shot on the drone, and despite max rolling, gets denied the kill due to the drone's 1.2 DR successfully negating 2. If you didn't see earlier, on March 15th, sectoids gained 1 max HP and drones .2 DR. Aliens will get stats and abilities as the campaign progresses. This development is, of course, very bad. I push aggressively with Vincent to hopefully secure a flank somewhere. The rest of the squad prepares for the sectoids' push.

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Multiple not-so-good developments from the aliens' turn. The sectoids all suppress my most forward people, 2 of whom will be flanked next turn. The drone hitting someone for even 1 point puts them in the lethal damage band for a non-crit. Dramatic action must be taken to free up the suppressed troops for action and clear the flank risks.

Jett attempts to blast the cover of one of the sectoids, but fails. Sapper can't come soon enough, but it was the best chance I was gonna get. At least with the sectoid taking damage, the suppression is cleared from one of my troops, allowing more options on the table to further secure the board. Needing to clear some pieces off the board, I push Donpedrito up to AP grenade the recently HE'd sectoid, securing a kill. I need to carefully manage the kill distribution if I still want to have a chance in hell of everyone promoting. The situation is bad, but not untenable.

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Suvius manages an AP grenade that both kills the drone and removes the suppression from Vincent, who picks up the frag. Only 1 sectoid remains on the board. In order to discourage the sectoid from trying for a flank shot, I smoke Cats (who cannot move from the last sectoid's suppression) and have them overwatch. It overwatches back, initiating a standoff.

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I try to get a bit cute here in order to push more aggressively forward. Being on Overwatch, and without Opportunist, the sectoid doesn't have the best odds of hitting me. Even worse if I move alongside cover with the smoke. At 10% odds, I don't think this was the worst move. Just really, really, fucking unlucky. Unlucky that it hit, even worse that it maxrolled. And there's still one more pod out there... Ugh. With the suppression cleared I push the boys up to Seal Team 6 this final sectoid, who fortunately expended all their ammunition with the suppression and shooting on overwatch. Vincent smashes their cover with their HE grenade and it's time to set Jett up for their prom-

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Fuck. I have 1 AP grenade left and they're not in position to be able to hit this. All the useable cover is too far away or flankable by any drones that would (will) survive the blast. I have to give Jett's kill to ShelteredFreak, who claims their promotion. All but Jett. I pull my people back and prepare to weather the dronely hail of gunfire. Jett has no options for decent cover and has to make do with half.

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The drones push Don aggressively and fortunately miss all of their shots on Jett. Most of the squad is spread out behind them and unable to assist effectively. My own attacks are equally ineffective, dealing a whole 0 damage to any drone. Don now has to kite them while I reload and reposition.

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Okay, things are awkward but not unworkable. Don can keep dashing away to keep themself safe, and the squad has eyes on 2. 1 of them is landed and must be dealt with immediately before it can take flight again. Jett plinks it for 3, reduced to 2, allowing Cats to take it down. The other 2 drones aren't touchable, as some people still need to reload their now empty guns. Don rushes towards the squad so that a firing line can be established.

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The drone had just enough mobility to be able to flank Donpedrito. It is only idiotic luck in my favor that it rolled a 4 and failed to kill them, but now half of my squad is panicking including some of the people whose guns were loaded. Jett emptied their gun on a miss, so I have this turn to kill 2 drones with only 2 people in order to save Don. Suvius connects a shot for 2, allowing Cats to secure the kill on a 58%. But the last drone is still able to flank and kill Don with its incoming turn... And I only have 1 trooper, whose gun is empty, to deal with it.

It is here I stop and for 10 IRL minutes tried to research the exact damage band of a drone. Their base damage is 3, I know they can low roll a 2, but I do not know their max. They haven't received any damage upgrades yet, and won't for a long time. I know they can crit for 4, but does it go higher? A 5 is survivable, but nothing I was able to see told me if it could roll a 6. The fatal 6. It is here I assume it can roll a 6, but that doesn't mean it will. All it has to do is not crit, or not roll a 6 if it does crit.

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It is here I employ the Red Shirt Maneuver. This is the best shot I have at saving all of my people and the last move of my turn. To describe myself as anxious is an understatement, I was practically shitting myself here.

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DONPEDRITO LIVES!! LETS FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

It didn't work how I thought it would, but it did. My best guess is the AI made a move that something that could take cover would make, against the headstone, hoping to shoot Jett. But since drones can't take cover, they have no ability to step out. By landing where it did, it has no LOS on Jett, and instead shoots against Don's cover.

I pull Don out, deep into the fog of war and reorganize my people to deal with the drone. Jett still needs their promotion but has no ammo, so I kite the drone for a long ass time to set Jett up for the kill. This takes, no shit, 5 minutes of running around.

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Cats softens the drone up with the last AP grenade, and I pass the turn hoping to get a steadied shot off on the drone. The ayys decide to give one final "Fuck you" to Jett before she clears the board, claims their promotion, and takes us home.

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LETS. FUCKING. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH. I cannot fucking tell you how pumped I am that everyone lived.

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Here's the promotion board. Some serious wounds, but dammit they can't complain if they're coming home alive to bitch about it.

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Shortly after the squad gets home, the 2nd UFO of March shows up. However, it is here that Europe's airspace proves too cumbersome to overcome. Despite a promising initial interception from FO "Spitfire" Shankar, "Slick" Coppens isn't able to sink it home. The airspace was so wide that the time to actually get in range took too long and UFO-002 flies off. However, despite its escape, the Scout UFO was sufficiently damaged so as to prevent the appearance of a satellite hunting Fighter. Still, I would have loved to play a 2nd mission, and I hate that I missed out on this shoot down. Losing that shoot down is 5 less promoted rookies and potentially 1 less promoted Scout. The roster should still make it to April with minimal rookies remaining, but there's also a lot of cash lost as well. Another Interceptor is bought to shore up the skies in the meanwhile. Many more will follow later.

Xenobiology also finishes here, allowing Council Members to put in requests for sectoid corpses. The game prompts me to build an alien containment facility, which is promptly ignored in order to start Alien Materials for Alloy Vests. It'll take 18 days for Materials to finish, but there's still some time until the next day.

The UK promptly puts in a request for 6 sectoid corpses, which is a shitload. However, the payout is 2 scientists. I dispatch the items immediately and the scientists slash 3 days off the Materials research instantly. A couple more like that and I can have the project done before March is over. The rest of the day ends uneventfully...
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by mrmelbert » #724513

Alien base in Brazil. You will come to Brazil.

I am reminded about how terrifying drones are in the early game. Space Roombas legit more terrifying than any alien in the game.
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #724530

March 20th
Operation Purple Star

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Uh oh. It's that time of the month. A Council Mission is guaranteed to show up towards the end of the month. The rewards are great, but depending on the mission it rolls it can be very difficult. The variety of mission types can be anything from timed bomb defusals, VIP escorts, or even just a simple search and destroy like any other abduction. There's a few pretty cool unique ones mixed in the pool, but the worst thing that I can get right now is a bomb defusal. Assaults are super useful on a defusal mission, but I don't want to promote anyone into Infantry or Assault so they can get an additional bonus HP from putting a satellite over Russia. While the enemy count may be low at this stage in the game, having to pull multiple pods is not something I want to work against right now.

These aren't missions that I ever want to fail, so these are A-Team type missions.

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Fortunately it's just a VIP extraction. This is one of those unique missions that can show up only once, and while it's not great that I am getting it right now in a personal meta sense, it isn't a bomb defusal. Missions like this are static and if you've played it once it can't really surprise you later. The rewards are quite hefty with 2 additional engineers and $241 on the table. The panic reduction is nice, but ultimately wasted on Egypt since they're so calm compared to other countries.

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Here's the squad for today, featuring the first entirely non-rookie line up.

Returning Diaspora is on call for today as my only and most experienced Scout. Since last they were seen, I held off on deciding what their Lance Corporal promotion ability would be. Going into this mission I decided to give them Holo-Targeting, allowing them to effectively laze a target for follow up shots to have a bonus 10 aim. This promotion doesn't really enhance their own ability beyond the bonus will and aim they get from promoting. They're carrying a motion detector, which is mostly unneeded on this map since it's so small and linear, but brought as a measure of safety since it can be very easy to start into a fight right out the gate. Another item yet unseen is the Ceramic Plate, which provides +1HP. I expect the Scout to be getting in close and dirty, and with a new threat coming in on this mission they're going to need a slight bump in their HP to stay safe.

JohnBlazed returns and is promoted into Medic, granting them +1 HP, +1 mobility, and the Field Medic ability. This gives them 1 free use of medkit not tied to any item, and any medkits they do bring with them gain 1 additional use. Medics get a lot of cool options for how they spec from enhanced overwatch perks, smoke specialization, and of course full heal specs. They gain a lot of will from their promotions so they'll be less susceptible to panic and psi-attacks. For JohnBlazed's namesake, I think I shall have them be a smoke specialist.

ThirdCaliber and Neutral promote into Gunners. From their promotion they gain +1 HP, the Suppression ability, and they can now equip SAWs and LMGs. SAWs have 6 ammo total, as opposed to the Assault Rifles 3, allowing them to keep up with Suppression's 2 ammo usage cost. They also deal 1 more damage for a base damage band of 4-6. Gunners can spec into either an anti-armor or anti-infantry role later down the line, with a few options to make them more survivable. Units using suppression very often get focused by the aliens so the ability to safely take some tank options without sacrificing a powerful offensive ability is a good treat. They also have some options for overwatch stuff, but they are lackluster compared to the Medic and Infantry's options. They're both packing ceramic plates so they can tank any shots they catch from using their Suppression, and a medkit, whose further utility will be elaborated on shortly.

Jessica promotes into Engineer, granting them +1HP and the Grenadier ability. This gives any offensive grenades they take +1 max uses and gives their grenade throwing arm 20% more range. Those 2 AP grenades they are bringing are actually 4 in total. I also have them bring a carbine to allow them to more easily move around to get their grenades on target. These guys can spec into some really powerful offensive or defensive grenade spam, with strong support abilities along the way. There's a lot of build variety with these guys and they're honestly just really cool.

Finally we have Aurikel, promoting into Sniper. They gain the Squadsight ability, allowing them to attack enemies within their allies' lines of sight. The ability has a list of conditions dependent on what weapon they are using, such as the Marksman Rifle they are packing. LMGs and Marksman Rifles are both "limited" Squadsight weapons. If I recall my numbers right, it's either 5 or 7 tiles beyond their own visual range. Having Squadsight increases this "limited" range by another 5 tiles. Marksman Rifles also are much easier to employ compared to Sniper Rifles, allowing those equipped with it to move and shoot without needing the Snap Shot perk. The choice between the more powerful but more cumbersome sniper rifle or the more mobile marksman rifle is dependent on the map. In their pockets they are bringing a laser sight for +4 aim, since all they do is shoot, and another medkit. Snipers are very one note in that all of their perk options just make them a better killer, with some variety as to how they accomplish this. They scale crazy hard later down the road, capable of soloing multiple pods.

Now, you may be wondering why there's so many medkits featured on this lineup. There's a new enemy introduced on this mission, whose abilities I will elaborate further on later, but they have a poison ability that just carrying a medkit confers complete immunity against it. This enemy especially loves to use this against Gunners who are using Suppression. I am not certain if the Medic's free medkit usage from Field Medic confers this immunity, but they're usually carrying a medkit anyway. Aurikel is bringing one since they don't really have any good options to bring besides it.

Also as a note, everyone gets bonus will and aim when they promote, but I didn't go over every instance of it. Mobility and HP bonuses were just more significant to mention. All of their progressions are tied to their class due to Strict Screening, with only a minor variance in how much Will they can get.

and another fun fact: their outfits were defined in the config by me, so these are the default outfits that everyone rolling into these classes will appear as for now

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Ahhh, the Van Doorn Memorial Highway. Named so after the VIP that is rescued from this very mission. This is a static mission from vanilla, but over the course of Long War's development (alongside Beaglerush's various campaigns) had an inside joke built into it. On to the actual mission now...

Ahead of the squad is plenty of high cover, as well as one of Van Doorn's associates, Glenn Friendly. While Friendly's beckoning and Bradford's own briefing state this mission should be completed quickly, I can take as much time as I need to. There is no soft or hard time limit built into this mission. The high cover ahead can masquerade the presence of alien pods who love to hide behind that red SUV. Pushing around too far to the left or right can easily turn this into an awkward fight where the aliens get to enjoy all of the high cover forward of the spawn, sticking the squad with all of the low cover with limited options for advance. I push the squad up slowly to make way behind the SUV, with Aurikel slinking off to the right.

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A motion tracker usage shortly after confirms my suspicion, with not one, but two pods of enemies behind Friendly's SUV. Fortunately I can just move up behind it and get in close to jump out at them when I am ready. This mission is still mostly sectoids since this is only March, but in the darkness lies a new threat that I want to be able to kill ASAP. Friendly also gives us a quick rundown on how they got their asses kicked. He also mentions how he'll "support" the squad on the way back, but this is a lie. Friendly isn't even holding a gun and everyone else is dead, minus the man Van Doorn himself.

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I push Neutral out to initiate contact, revealing 3 sectoids. You can't see the 3rd in the image, but he's to the right of the rightmost sectoid. Since they're standing right next to each other, and the other one is against high cover, the one in low cover is blocking the other's step out, preventing LOS from being gained on them. While the Engineer can double whammy these two with ease, I want to try and feed kills to Diaspora to get their Corporal promotion through kills and recover some corpses for more Council Requests.

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Sadly, Diaspora doesn't hit the mark on this kill and instead applies holo-targeting for a followup. This is as good as any time to display the advantage of squadsight and a steadied weapon. All these things compounded on a kill the aliens couldn't see coming, and this sectoid gets the first lovetap from XCOM that comes out of nowhere. While Snipers can take some time to get rolling, they can really go crazy. With that sectoid killed, the one stood right next to it is now revealed.

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ThirdCaliber and Neutral lay down suppression on the two remaining sectoids, with JohnBlazed going on Overwatch to scare them. No that isn't a joke, some of the more cowardly aliens can be intimidated with superior firepower.

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...Motherfucker. The other sectoid takes a pitiful 1% shot and misses. At least for ThirdCaliber the shot didn't penetrate his armor. Diaspora pushes up to get revenge that bullshit and further bullshit is flung the squad's way.

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This is a dreaded step out activation. They are impossible to predict and sometimes you just get unlucky, as this move activates 2 more sectoids down the way. Fun fact: those sectoids are standing next to the VIP and ignore him. He's completely invincible until someone walks near him. Jessica AP nades the other sectoid to prepare for the 2 newly activated sectoids. I set the squad up into overwatch positions to await their arrival.

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This will not be an isolated incident and will happen much more once some of the other flying units are introduced. If you don't shudder at the thought of getting shot by a Cyberdisk you can't see you are not smart enough to be afraid. The other sectoid also took a shot here and missed, fortunately.

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This is all entirely due to the fact that technically the area ahead of the squad is a half elevation below, which makes LOS just snap in half. It took some finagling to finally get vision on them, and in that time I patched up ThirdCaliber.

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The troublesome twins are finally revealed, their LOS subverting ways finally put to rest. Aurikel gets a good hit, but can't sink it. Were she using a sniper rifle the min roll would have killed it, but this is the trade off for greater mobility. Jessica can't get a grenade on it, and Diaspora missed earlier to set up Auri's shot. Too far for nades, I try to get Jessica to take a shot but it goes wide. Fortunately, its return fire is ineffectual and the other sectoid, suppressed by Neutral, panics and hunkers down. To be clear, this was a decision made by the AI. There are options later down the line to apply panic, but this sectoid pissed its jorts when those rounds flew above its head and decided "ayy lmao", leaving its buddy to fend for himself.

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The cowardly sectoid is given 15 new orifices with an AP grenade, with the surviving sectoid fed to Diaspora.

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We hear from the man, the myth, the legend: Peter Van Doorn. General in the United Nations and today's VIP in need of rescue. Really Diaspora stepped 1 foot over his trigger line while killing the pictured sectoid. He's still invincible until we stand right next to him, but until that point he is going to annoy the squad about how he is having all of the fun, despite having no weapon, 3HP, and worse mobility than a rookie until we formally introduce ourselves.

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A teaser of the new enemy. It's important to note that every enemy up to this point has never been alone. The other enemy picked up on the scan Diaspora killed a moment later and there are no other "active" enemies on the map. It is very rare for enemies to ever be alone in their pod, but this one is easy to identify since this is the mission they first appear in, and they are in a solo pod. After killing the sectoid, I patch up Diaspora's missing 2HP with a medkit from JohnBlazed to prepare to kill this new enemy. I do spend a solid few minutes hoping the enemy will jump up the cliff and be mowed down in a wall of overwatches, but sadly I had to go to it.

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Meet the Thin Man. Half thin, half man, and all alien. Sporting the alien plasma carbine, thin men are deadly accurate, highly mobile, deal more damage, and have a couple acid based abilities they can use. They have the ability to spit a cloud of acid that reduces mobility, aim, and inflicts 1 damage any time a costly action is taken. This same cloud appears when these units are killed, so getting close to them is dangerous in more ways than one. This acid effect lasts anywhere between 2 and 5 turns, but can be cured with a medkit. The clouds themselves only last for a short 2 turns. For anyone carrying a medkit, they are completely immune to this effect. Gunners will often be the subject of acid spits if they're suppressing anyone, so they'll basically always be carrying a medkit to be immune to this attack. These guys will begin appearing in the standard rotation in April.

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...aaaand it's dead. Diaspora picks up another kill. Pictured to the right is the VIP. I don't want anyone to get close to him since that removes his invulnerability and moving him around can cause more thin men to literally drop in from orbit.

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A pod of sectoids from across the pit activates on Diaspora and takes cover behind a burned out car, with JohnBlazed putting a well placed burst in ones ass. There's still a small chance Diaspora can promote from this mission if they can get some more kills which I am really hoping I'll be able to do. Sadly, at this distance, not a lot of the squad can effectively engage the sectoids without going into the pit. Even doing so, they cannot take cover at the red SUV the VIP is at without removing his invulnerability. I don't want to risk a fluke here because the AI will shoot him if they get the chance.

As a note for this map, the sectoids are at the edge of the map. This particular map was exclusive to this mission in vanilla, but Long War adds it to the normal rotation, with the end the sectoids are at as a possible spawning point. It sucks absolute fucking ass to spawn there since you have to fight up a hill where aliens can easily appear and get height advantage on anyone in the pit. Which you have to push since nobody but a Rocketeer or Sniper can effectively engage them from across the gap. Spawning in the normal place makes this map basically a free win since it's such a small linear map. It may not look it, but that image is half the map itself.

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Wanting to try for the promotion, I push Diaspora up very aggressively, taking careful note of my LOS indicator to make sure they can't see the sectoid.

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...Despite Diaspora having no LOS on the sectoid, boy can they see her! The gunner suppressing this sectoid loses effectiveness because the sectoid has height advantage and proximity bonuses letting it eek out a solid hit that panics her.

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No one is close enough to help her this turn. Diaspora's panicked hunkering ends on the aliens' next turn. The only person who can see either of the sectoids is on the far right of the image, whose only reliable move is to suppress. Aurikel misses their shot against the overwatching sectoid leaving only ThirdCaliber to assist. Neutral pushes into the pit, but because the other sectoid has height advantage, and he doesn't have enough ammo to suppress, the only thing he can safely do is hunker down.

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Not even close, baby. As a quick note, she also rolled successfully to reduce damage from the last hit too. If either of those attacks had not had the 33% chance to reduce damage by 1 succeed Diaspora likely dies right here, and right now. If she weren't wearing a ceramic plate, dead. If I hadn't healed her before she got here, dead. I get very lucky again. The other sectoid luckily decides not to push up and kill her.

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The LOS bullshit ends now with a well placed shot from Aurikel. Neutral and JohnBlazed push up to heal Diaspora on their next turn, while ThirdCaliber locks down the last sectoid with suppression so Diaspora can get the frag.

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With the last sectoid killed, and the map cleared of enemies, the 2nd part of the mission can begin. Van Doorn needs to be taken all the way to where the squad started earlier. As the VIP advances, thin men are going to HALO jump in around the map. The good news is there won't be many of them and they only drop after the VIP advances past certain points. The bad news is when they land they immediately go into overwatch. Using this information, I can preposition troops in places they are able to fall in order to just spawn kill them.

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Diaspora and ThirdCaliber take positions on the opposite end of the highway from the rest of the squad, a typical spot for the thin men to land. The rest of the squad post up around Van Doorn, with JohnBlazed giving the XCOM introduction to the general. He remarks how happy he is to see the squad, but laments the loss of his entourage (minus Friendly). Story-wise XCOM is still a pretty clandestine organization at this point in the campaign and the general remarks on the squad's unusual kit (he has never seen a G36). Bradford again says that I need to hurry Mr. Van Doorn to the Skyranger for evac, but this is a lie. I can take as long as I want to. Embarrassingly after activating him Bradford mentions aliens inserting into the AO and I overwatch camp for a few turns waiting for them to appear.

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Peter "The General" Van Doorn joins the rest of the squad and the first thin men fall from the sky.

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Sadly, the first thin man appears near spawn, on the literal opposite end of the map from Diaspora. After going into overwatch, the thin man walks in and takes a nice 4 point hit from Jessica's carbine before going into overwatch. Being a scout, it doesn't take long for Diaspora to catch up and be in a position to feed this guy to her.

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Diaspora gets spat by acid here. Basically the only person this thin man could see who didn't have a medkit he managed to spit, though he did try to splash Neutral with it. I do a bit more suppression dancing to control the thin man and give time for the cloud to dissipate and for Aurikel to get in position to medkit Diaspora.

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It takes some setup, but Diaspora gets the frag.

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Pushing Van Doorn up further, this thin man makes the mistake of landing in range of XCOM's guns and is promptly gunned down by Diaspora. Pushing further still, a final thin man lands way in the back where the LOS fuckery happened. I try to overwatch camp it, but the fucker doesn't bite.

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It takes so long I just evac Van Doorn. On every VIP escort, the mission always requires that all aliens are killed afterwards, so I have to go all the way back to find that last thin man.

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I ain't gonna sugar coat it, as soon as that fucker was visible I blasted it with Diaspora's shotgun to finish out the mission.

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Everyone comes home. Sadly, not only did Diaspora not promote, they're also out for 28 days. They're going to miss half of April before they get back in rotation. I was really pinning my hopes they'd be my first Corporal, but it looks like it'll have to be someone else. During the post-OP analysis I discovered she would have needed 3 more kills to get their promotion to Corporal, which would have basically meant she'd need to solo the map.

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Tallying up the rewards, we get a little bit more than just cash and some engis! Van Doorn resigns from the UN as a General and joins XCOM as a Lance Corporal in the Weapons tree. Glenn, the soldier the squad met at the beginning of the mission, also signs aboard as a Specialist Support. But there's one more thing about Van Doorn. He gets Steadfast as a free perk, making him immune to panic from seeing allies get injured or killed. It also makes him immune to Intimidate, an ability that won't be seen until May. In vanilla XCOM:EW, this does not happen. This all started from an inside joke in one of Beaglerush's Long War campaigns from way long ago, during the beta days of LW. Eventually the Long War team decided to add him in as a fun nod to this gag. This also isn't the only Doorn who will be encountered if the campaign goes on long enough!

My Scout won't be ready to be made Corporal when I wanted them to. My next best bet for rushing a Corporal is to level Van Doorn up. If he doesn't take any injuries, he can make it well in time before Diaspora can come back. I may decide to take him along for the 3rd Scout to try and get that XP in ASAP, though that would be neglecting the rookies a bit. I'm still very displeased about missing the 2nd UFO and need to hope that I get lucky with the 50% chance to get a 4th abduction. There's still 11 more rookies that need to promote and if I only get the UFO I go into April with 6~7 rookies depending on if I take Van Doorn with the gang to earn some scratch. This isn't like game ending or anything, just really annoying. This March has so far been very substandard with my fast-tracked Scout getting put out of commission and the 2nd UFO being missed due to the EU's cumbersome airspace.

The cash gained from this mission is instantly put into another Interceptor, whereas if Diaspora were still up I'd save it for what comes after someone dings Corporal.

Things are... alright. At the least nobody has died yet, though try as the aliens and myself may.


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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #724614

March 21st
Operation Silent Prohpet

Ruin has come to my base. On March 18th, a Scout UFO was intercepted but not successfully shot down. Back then I made the assumption that this UFO would not have completed its mission, since it was "flaming up" after the first interception. I was under the erroneous assumption that any UFO that is reduced to 50% HP automatically fails their mission. This is not true for Scouting missions. I had thought I was in the clear since in the past what comes after these missions didn't immediately show up after the mission's success as usual. Instead, this is only true for the mission following a successful scouting. I think I was aware of this distinction in the past, but trying to re-dredge the information it got jumbled up.

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This is an easily identified mission. It's still only March, it is in High Orbit, and it is scanning. This can only be a satellite hunting mission. It's also still so early that it can only be a Fighter, which is still manageable with the current hangar situation. FO "Slick" Coppens is sent to initiate contact.

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...and promptly shot down. Now, this was a mix of things that happened. The interception ran long due to bad RNG and I was overextended a bit. The plane had 50% health and I wanted to get one last rocket in before breaking the engagement off. I can really push the margins here by being able to hit the big red ABORT button, which instantly ends the interception... most of the time. This time, I pressed the abort button, the interception did not end, and Slick was crit for his remaining 50% health. Shit like this is why the air game is total ass. To say that I am furious at this development is an understatement, but time marches on. Now Lieutenant "Voodoo" Vargas goes up and manages to damage the fighter more but also fails to successfully shoot it down.

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Okay. That isn't good. But there's nothing to be done but to fast fo-

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Holy fucking shit that timing could not have been better. Raven-5 shows up in XCOM's darkest hour, moments away from losing our satellite, and finishes the fight. I will be leaving this interceptor named as Raven-5 since they deus ex machina'd their way into the story. Most runs through March I get by without buying a single Interceptor, and for some reason 3 days I ago I thought it prudent to buy one.

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Meet the team for today.

Batman reappears and dons the Scout mantle, bringing the shotgun, motion detector, and a flashbang.
Sniperkiller has an AP and flash grenade.
Personator and Wolfskin bring an AP HE combo since the map is "Settlement".
DryRain and SpaceInvader shore up the roster with an AP nade and a medkit.

This mission is going to be so stupid easy, honestly, it's hardly worth going over. Shot down fighters only have like 5 aliens max so it's pretty hard to fuck this up.

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Welcome to "Small Scout Roadhouse". This map is sloped entirely downhill, with the bar and grill at the top of the hill, and the UFO at the bottom. Limited squadsight weapons would get some major usage here if I had any. Downside to getting this map is its pretty damn big, and there's only a pinch of aliens needing slaying.

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The squad gets a pretty good spawn at the top of the hill. The store blocks LOS for a decently large area. There would be threats contained within the confines of the store if it were a more populated mission, but on just a Fighter I can afford to push the squad ahead aggressively.

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A pod of 3 enemies. I'll spoil the surprise and tell you it was 3 drones that were dispatched in short order. There's not much to talk about this mission as it was basically a milk run. I'll skip to the Outsider.

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The squad stacked up against the UFO. Poor motion tracker usage earlier in the missions means I don't actually know where the Outsider beyond it is contained within the confines of the UFO, but this audio cue is concerning. The length of it means they're pretty deep in there. I'm expecting there to be some difficulty here.

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This is not good. The outsider is too far away to be safely flashed and it has full cover against an alien wall. No amount of hoping will get a rookie HE nade to destroy that. Batman, the squad's scout, is also too far away to be able to get in range. I decide to break LOS here. It is fortunately far enough away that it can't threaten anyone immediately.

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It takes a good long minute before I finally get LOS on it again. I initially suspected it had ran onto the roof of the UFO so I was getting ready to do some pretty stupid shit which could have easily killed someone.

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I pull the squad back, hunker down, and am surprised to see the outsider push up so aggressively in such an easily flanked position. I was expecting it to try and go through the interior, but it takes a shot that very easily could have killed Batman in 1 hit since they had no ceramic plate on. Fortunately the shot goes wide and the squad turns this ayy into slayy'd, with the kill of course going to Batman.

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Yeah, like I said, boring mission, easy and done with.

Fascinatingly enough, Personator, Wolfskin, Sniperkiller, and SpaceInvader all promoted into Tactical from this mission. I've never seen 4 people promote into same class, at least not that I can recall.

DryRain promotes into Support and will probably be another smoke medic. You guys don't know him, but the stories of this guy are infamous. I heard from his mates that he once disappeared in the middle of game with them. Asked for a timeout pause and just vanished. Reappeared years later and said someone knocked on his door and when he opened he got busted for having marijuana. The stories of him playing pubs are also grand, really funny dude.

The squad managed to get a meld canister and the UFO had salvageable parts in the form of a flight computer. However, things being as they are, I am strapped for cash and need more planes. There's still one more Scouting mission and my Air Force is crippled for the next 2 weeks. This moment is so bad that I have to change my overarching strategy because of how bad this March has been going. The flight computers I had found up until this point were vital in paving the way towards a Mech rush, which requires Alien Computers, which in turn requires 4 alien computers. There'll be opportunities to get these later, but every one I get now is RNG due to shoot downs. The only reliable way to get them is with a landed UFO being captured, and that requires a satellite to detect. Which, if I lose my satellite over France, is impossible.

I don't think the run is "over", it's just off to a damn rocky start compared to what I was consistently getting in the past. The end of the month is stacking all of the missions into the 3rd week and it's killing (metaphorically and literally) my planes.

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Bro...

I can't even intercept this. The closest plane is at least 36 hours out and this UFO will be long gone by then. I'll have to let it complete its mission and hope the fighter doesn't follow it immediately after, otherwise this month will officially enter the gutter. Seeing this at the time, I thought this could truly be an "over before it began" type deal. However, the benefit of playing this over such a long time I pondered. I may lose it, but my satellite over Russia will be ready and I can just... put it back later. Focus on buying planes and satellites with every cent I get and just try to make up the losses at the strategy layer by neglecting the tactical game. I've played with ballistics and kevlar going all the way into July. It'll suck some major ass, but it can be done if I ditch the Mech Rush.

It'll be sad to lose out on getting early mechs (like really sad. they're fun as fuck.), but there's still hope on the horizon if I can just seize it. For now, as the hologlobe ticks over to March 22nd, I will go to play Rimworld and ruminate.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #724689

March 22nd
Bad time blues.


When last we left off, a Scout had just appeared and XCOM has no interceptors ready to engage it. This is potentially the last mission of the month and there's still ~9 days before the first council progress report. I'll spoil it now and tell you this is going to be a short update.

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The only hope I have at keeping this satellite is the interceptor arriving in ~36 hours, or the small random chance it just fails for no raisin. I don't know how long it takes UFOs to carry out their mission, but hopefully it takes some time for the Hunt mission to come after this Scout completes its mission.

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No such luck. This time the Hunt mission works exactly how I expected it would, immediately following the success of the Scout mission. I'm going to have to make it a point to learn if damaging the Scout increases the time before the hunt mission can arrive.

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I sat and watched this satellite hunter going about its business in real (1 second to 60) time on the hologlobe. For some reason it got stuck in the airspace off the southwest coast of Iceland for 12 hours.

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Moment of truth. I'll learn if I keep the satellite once it disappears. There's still a small random chance for it to fail its mission.

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It's gone? And my satellite is still here? BROS, WE'RE SO FUCKING BACK.

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Just kidding! I hope you got to experience that the same way I did. I can very easily describe this as one of the worst starts I've ever had. It was always a possibility that the starter satellite could be lost, but in all my time I've only ever actually lost it 3 times. Out of 140 campaigns. Every UFO appeared in a 1 week time period and the 4 planes I start with, even with Friendly Skies, was not enough to keep up. Even lost an interceptor. Utterly demoralizing.

In other news; The power generator and satellite uplink have finished. Russia also put in a request for satellite so at least I'll get an extra engineer from placing that satellite.

There shouldn't be any further updates until April begins unless I get lucky and roll the 50% chance for a 4th abduction.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #725048

March 26th
Operation Dying Pipe

BOYS. GIRLS. ALIENS YET TO BE DECEASED. WE'RE SO FUCKING BACK!!

Okay, not quite that back, if I'm being totally honest, but the best thing that could have happened did. The 4th abduction mission rolled and it is a Swarming. Later in the campaign swarming abductions can be pretty intimidating especially dependent on the map choice (Swarming CQC is the craziest), but as things have rolled now this isn't a terrible sight. The cash reward for completing this is only a smidgen higher than others but I will be needing every penny that can be scraped together to claw back a lead. There's going to be more enemies on the map than any of the previous missions. For now, the mission takes us to Jaipur, India on a Settlement map.

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Meet the team for today.

Lance Corporal Van Doorn is tagging along for the mission as a newly minted Gunner. Van Doorn's unique quirk of coming innately with the Steadfast perk has to be worked with carefully. If I were to random him into a class that has Steadfast in their perk tree, like Infantry, then whatever promotion that perk appears will be locked in already. As they are scripted to roll into the Weapons School, this worry can be safely avoided as neither the Gunner nor Rocketeer has Steadfast on their perk trees. Since he's a Lance Corporal, he also gets an additional perk to choose from between Flush, Covering Fire, and Holo-Targeting.

Flush is an aimed shot with reduced damage that consumes 2 ammo, but forces an enemy to move from their current position. This perk combos later with another perk to make it a powerful tool to deal damage to flying mechanical enemies.
Covering Fire is an interesting option here but ultimately not one I'm interested in exploring. This would allow the Gunner's overwatches to attack not just enemies that move, but enemies that act in almost any way.
Holo-Targeting is the same as it was on the Scout. Many classes share perks on their trees, but Long War keeps it interesting by changing where they can appear. For instance, Medics can pick up Suppression after promoting just once. Infantry on the other hand have to promote 3 times before they can get Suppression.

I ultimately decided to choose Holo-Targeting to pair with an ability that Van Doorn can choose later down the line. For now, the most realistic application for Doorn right now will be applying Holo for other people to take shots with. With Diaspora out of commission, Van Doorn is also going to be fast tracked to try and rush for my first Corporal.

Jessica reappears on the roster as this mission will be enough to promote them to LCPL, which would allow them to pick up Sapper. They're bringing an AP HE mix to hopefully strip some cover and increase the grenade efficacy on the mission with their Grenadier trait. Jessica and Van Doorn are my safety net for the 4 rookies on this mission. With how slow the ball is going to be rolling coming out of March, I don't want to even think about this mission failing. This will allow me to pick up a couple of smoke grenades on the rookies without sacrificing any offensive ability.

Making their Rookie Debuts...

Ajax, bringing an AP HE pair.
EvilScotsman bringing an AP medkit.
AlamoTurtle and Duana bringing an AP smoke combo.

I could have gone with a full rookie roster to get all 40 rookies promoted, but the risk of this mission going tits up wasn't worth it. I can deal with a couple of rookies going into April.

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This map is pretty alright. Plenty of easily destructible high cover and the map is essentially 2 smaller arenas, allowing engagements to be easily controlled.

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I'm not super enthused with this spawn but it isn't the worst on the map. For the sake of reference this is the southwest corner of the map. At the very least, spawning in this alleyway gives the team a very small map presence while allowing a great deal of control on engagements with potential door breaches. Getting into a fight in the narrows of this alley is not an exciting prospect, so hopefully nothing is lurking outside the fog of war to force the team into an awkward linear engagement. I want to set up for a door breach and get this jelly and jam started. With how terribly things were going at the strategy layer I felt a bit incensed going into this mission.

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Given it is a swarming mission, I set up on this door and get ready to kick it in and kick alien ass.

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...But there was nothing inside, seemingly. There's a couple corners in this restaurant floor the squad can't see, but tilescanning did not divine any alien presence within the interior. The map does extend further outwards by a small amount. If they aren't here then they're just out of sight. I decide to have the squad move further up the alleyway and set up on the next door down to hopefully catch any pods that patrol into the building. I do this very slowly, with consideration to what cover the team will be able to fight in if they catch contact down the alleyway, but ultimately no xenos reveal themselves to me. Not from down they alleyway or from positions I held at the first door.

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The team sets up at the 2nd door. Sound cues do not give any meaningful information as no windows are broken and no doors are slammed open. A drone whines in the fog of war, but a drone is not an unexpected threat. The turn passes back to me and I open the door for a 2nd attempt at an ambush.

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Further nothing... This is getting a bit concerning. The aliens are just out of sight on the street and pushing them isn't a great option with how much terrain I'd have to push through to get to the hardcover on the far side of the building. Plenty of opportunity to reveal further aliens. I decide to press further down the alleyway and start clearing the next building, which I believe is a DVD or comic store of some description.

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Opening the door finally reveals the first aliens. The squad of 4 sectoids scurries into the fog of war in good cover. I decide to split the squad to both initiate a flanking maneuver but also let them actually take positions that can be fought from. This door position only realistically has two positions that can be effectively fought from. I also withdraw the team into the alleyway to break LOS and avoid any cheeky 20% shots hitting.

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Pushing back out with Van Doorn reveals an additional pod. 2 more sectoids and a drone join the fray. I suspected another pod could be activated from this maneuver, but with the gunner and engineer to help manage the mobs I felt pretty confident. The enemies are spread out along a decently far line and have lots of high cover to choose from, while my own positions are limited. Fortunately this can still be managed pretty easily with all of the grenades everyone has. There's a sectoid whose position I am not quite certain, but they can't be very far away. The most challenging thing about this encounter so far is that the drone is pushed up very close and will easily fly in and take a free flank shot if not dealt with. If it is not controlled (or killed) Van Doorn can't safely suppress.

I spend a while trying to decide whether to move a rookie or the engineer into the position to Van Doorn's left.

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Before committing to who I move to Van Doorn's left I push EvilScotsman down to the next door to see what they can see. Unfortunately, they've revealed a new pod of 4 sectoids that were concealed along the closest wall of the building. Fortunately for the team, they don't activate. I don't know why they aren't activated but I ultimately decide to try to get Scotsman their promotion here with an AP grenade.

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I was trying to kill the one that only took 3 damage, but I won't complain about a dead alien and a promoted Rookie. There are now 9 sectoids and a drone active. 10 to 6 is a poor ratio to fight against, but the sectoids that activated mostly pushed up against the wall alongside the mind merged sectoid. The mystery of who gets to occupy the slot next to Van Doorn is solved by moving Jessica into position.

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Oh yeahhh. I can't tell even in the recording how many kills that was for Jessica but I think that killed every single sectoid pushed against the adjacent wall. While I could have put a rookie there to score some kills I wanted Jessica there to throw HE nades into the building to expose sectoids on the next turn. The drone, however, is still an imminent threat.

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Van Doorn suppresses the drone to dissuade it from moving and the rookies smoke up both positions to prepare for the incoming torrent of plasma fire.

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The sectoids, unable to take any decent shots because of the smoke, unleash a hail of psi spam. Doorn manages to resist a first mindfray against him, but the 2nd succeeds with Steadfast preventing a panic check. While Scotsman appears to have resisted a point of damage from the mindfray, this is actually a display error. Mindfray can't hit for 2 damage. Fortunately everyone passes their panic checks. It sucks that 2 people got mindfrayed but the squad's tactical options remain fairly unchanged. Van Doorn can still use suppression even while mindfrayed and EvilScotsman can easily be cycled out for another rookie who needs promoting.

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With the rest of the rookies on the right flank ready to swing into action, I can start working on divvying out some promotions. Ajax throws an HE grenade instead of taking the flank shot since these closest aliens are most threatening to the squad. Sadly their grenade is completely ineffective at destroying the shelves I had wanted to blow up. EvilScotsman moves off the left side of the door frame so Duana can throw an AP grenade.

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Duana claims their promotion, but that last closest sectoid is proving to be one tough nut to crack. Time to see what Van Doorn and Jessica over on the left side can get done.

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Wait, what? Jessica and Van Doorn can no longer see into the building and a movement blocker is now between them. This clearly wasn't the case 5 minutes ago when Jessica was lobbing nades and Van Doorn was suppressing the drone from that spot. I have no idea what happened here, but a couple theories. Quitting out and reloading unfortunately did not remove this.

Unable to attack from the left door I break LOS with Van Doorn, Jessica, and Alamo Turtle moving towards the right door. The kiddos on the right door are about to take a bunch more fire, but the drone shouldn't be able to fly through the door at least. The plan now is to try and maneuver along the outside of the building to the right side and try to occupy the hard cover, but that'll depend on what the right most sectoid does.

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Ajax panics from a Mindfray, but fortunately the sectoids are pulling back and letting me push into the building. The drone also flies right into the face of the squad. This poses a problem since it is still flying. With their DR recently going up to 1.2, and the limited space of the door frame to safely engage it, the drone needs to be dealt with in such a way that nobody is put at risk.

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Jessica throws an AP grenade from behind the dumpster for a very specific reason. They could have grenaded the drone from along the wall next to Duana. Nobody was in the explosions AOE but the drone according to the AOE indicator. But I've learned from all my time playing that the AOE indicator can be a deceiving witch. Certainly, the risk of it being wrong is minimal; but when its wrong the consequences can be disastrous. For one, it doesn't include moves that step out into the equation. A very common thing to occur is to shoot a danger close rocket only for the rocketeer to step out and get splashed by their own rocket. Secondly the throw angle had a razor thin margin of supposedly splashing nothing or splashing just the drone. I was worried about the grenade exploding, doing 2-6 to my balled up soldiers on the door, and nothing to the drone. That would be bad. As it is, I take the most cautious approach, get a safer angle, and let Duana take it home.

All that remains now are the sectoids who have retreated to the far wall of the building. With half of the squad still reeling from the debuffs inflicted by mindfray (or in Ajax's case from being panicked), I hunker the squad down and get ready for the sectoids to push out.

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Ajax takes an unfortunate hit here. They still need a promotion and the mindfray earlier reduces their throwing range so much they can't take the 1HP sectoid that is literally right in front of them. The right side exterior wall still isn't safe to use as cover as it is easily flanked by sectoids unseen. Ajax cycles off to allow AlamoTurtle to take a throw.

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Excellent. The interior of the building should be mostly cleared, though there's a few sectoids MIA somewhere. Scotsman uses their medkit on Ajax to bring them to full. The rest of the team prepares to push along the building's exterior and look for the sectoids.

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Duana scores a cross-the-building overwatch kill on a sectoid who decided to be a hero. 2 active sectoids remain after consulting the tac-info.

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Some scanning over the map reveals them through fog of war, quite far away. The team can freely take whatever positions inside and outside the comic shop that they wish. There is likely still another pod somewhere, even given how many were just killed trying to pick up Slipknot DVDs.

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ENEMY, SECTOID. 20 METERS. FRONT!

The rest of the squad along the building's exterior are unable to jump in because of the shelving units in front of the windows, so Van Doorn moves into the interior to lock down the sectoid to hopefully get Ajax in position to get their kill. The sectoid takes an ineffective shot back at Van Doorn, scorching the wall behind him.

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Van Doorn suppresses the sectoid to non-lethally apply holo-targeting and Jessica HE nades it to remove its cover. Ajax takes a 75% and claims their promotion. Had they missed, the sectoid would have tried to run the suppression giving Van Doorn an overwatch shot against them with their holo-targeting bonus. There's still a sectoid out there somewhere, but for now the board is cleared. Scotsman moves to cover the squad's left flank from the alleyway while the rest of the team creeps around the front of the building to work their way forward.

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With the Man Doorn pushed up, another pod of sectoids reveals themselves. Duana nails a 24% shot to kill a sectoid, leaving just 4 on the board and likely the last aliens on the map.

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Oh, ho ho!~ The enemy has taken positions in an easily flankable position.

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Pushing Van Doorn further still reveals all currently active enemies. This flanking move is unlikely to be punishable by the aliens this turn so I commit to it.

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Van Doorn applies holo with suppression and Duana sinks the kill. Again, had Duana missed the 75% here Van Doorn could have picked up the kill themself due to the flank forcing the sectoid to move. I would have loved to try and take both flanks but Duana was just slightly too far away to apply the flank pressure to the other sectoid so the conservative approach was taken. AlamoTurtle is pushed back down the alleyway to work on a flank for the remaining sectoids while the squad dukes it out in a straight gunfight.

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Orrr the sectoids can just stare at the squad with malicious intent. I tried to grenade the flower basin the sectoids were taking cover in but only succeed in destroying the plants contained within. It's possible this doodad cannot be destroyed, but oh well. With the rest of the team locked in place for the moment AlamoTurtle completes their maneuver on the left.

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It wasn't a flanking shot, but they sink a 35% shot to finish the sectoid. Since the HE grenade from Jessica damaged it so badly, even with their min roll of 3 being reduced to 2 from the half cover DR, they still get the kill. Blessimo. Van Doorn can suppress the remaining overwatching sectoid to nullify its overwatch and allow the team to advance.

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The team starts putting the moves on the remaining sectoid duo. Ajax pushes up on the sidewalk to flank the overwatching sectoid, though they are unable to act as they dashed. Van Doorn is suppressing the flanked sectoid so they will get a free exposed shot against them when they try to make a break for it. Let's see how it pans out for the team.

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Well that's just typical... EvilScotsman uses the same flank Duana used earlier to kill this sectoid while Ajax hunkers down to avoid getting sniped. I want to feed this last kill to Van Doorn if possible, which takes some finagling that I'll skip over.

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Aaaand that's a wrap! With AlamoTurtle flanking them, the sectoid is pressured to reposition and basically feeds itself to Van Doorn's machine gun. Back to base.

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AlamoTurtle promotes into the Support tree.
EvilScotsman and Ajax get into Scout-Sniper School.
Duana promotes into the Weapons tree.

Jessica promotes to Lance Corporal, allowing them to pick up the Sapper perk. This will make them a cover destroying god among men.

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From the rewards menu I notice something strange in the list. Remember that tile that just mysteriously started blocking Van Doorn and Jessica earlier in the mission? Also notice how I made no mention of collecting any Meld? My theory is that an invisible canister of Meld there happened to remember it was supposed to exist and just kind of decided to do it in the dumbest fucking way possible. There's no other explanation for how I could have gotten 7 meld. At most I could only get 1 from killing the drone with a rifle shot. I won't complain since it all worked out in the end and even benefited me, somehow.

An alternative theory was that when Van Doorn took damage from the Mindfray their position was not correctly updated, but reloading the save would have fixed that.

The satellite started at the beginning of the month completes later in the day, but I won't be launching it today. That'll be for tomorrow in preparation for the council report.

THAT is now the end of every happening in March. No further missions are possible. On April 1st I'll be going through the roster and promoting everyone who hasn't already promoted. This'll include all of the Assaults and Infantry who've been held back pending the Russian satellite bonus. See you all in April.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by Higgin » #725062

this is cool as Hell, and I'm glad you did it - reminds me of the storytiems/LPs we used to have on the old forums.
feedback appreciated here <3
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #725090

Higgin wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2024 11:00 am this is cool as Hell, and I'm glad you did it - reminds me of the storytiems/LPs we used to have on the old forums.
It makes me so very happy to hear that you are enjoying the read alongside everyone else who has remarked so far.

There's still a very long war ahead, win or lose.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by SpaceManiac » #725197

I've neglected Long War, but XCOM is a great subject for text LPs. This has been a fun read so far. Earth is behind you, Commander.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #725198

SpaceManiac wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 7:09 am I've neglected Long War, but XCOM is a great subject for text LPs. This has been a fun read so far. Earth is behind you, Commander.
If you haven't played XCOM: Enemy Within (2013) then I highly recommend it on its own. If after EW you find yourself wanting more, then play Long War. The base game is shallow in many aspects but excellently executed for what it is (in my opinion). The LW team had a solid foundation to make a challenging yet rewarding experience that meshes seamlessly with the vanilla game. The learning curve is steep; but I find myself getting so invested in the game in a way few others manage to capture. Diaspora and Donpedrito's near death experiences had me flipping from frantic to ecstatic. The defeated outlook I had after losing the France satellite replaced with a calculated, reserved, optimism for the future after rolling the 4th abduction mission.

The lead designer for Enemy Unknown/Within, Jake Solomon, said that the base game was a 20 hour tutorial for Long War. Few praises sing as genuinely as that tune.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #725577

Hello and welcome back to April. Things have changed, and as time marches ever onward, things will continue to change.

The regular enemy roster this month has some new arrivals and buffs for our beloved sectoid and drone.
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This also marks the end of my perfect insight into the enemy mission schedule. Certain missions will still be easily predicted, like the Council Mission and the new mission type, but things like how many abductions, scouts, and others are now a mystery to me. I'll be rolling with the punches until the end of the game, win or lose.

Entering April my new overarching tactical goals shift. In March, I wanted to promote all of my Rookies to Specialist and get a Corporal. 38/40 rookies is acceptable to me considering how badly things went, but the Corporal rush didn't pan out with Diaspora getting taken out for nearly a month a week and a half ago. Van Doorn is the next closest to reaching Corporal. The Corporal is very important, I know I keep mentioning it, but we're almost done hearing about it. For the duration of April I want to put a strong focus on promoting as many Assaults as fast and far as I possibly can. For the people who know; you know exactly why. I haven't talked much about Assaults (and Infantry) since they've been back burnered all month pending the Russia satellite, but I'll elaborate more on these guys in just a moment. I have a very short amount of time to do this before I need these guys. Possibly even not enough time. RNGesus will decide my fate.


Image


With that out of the way, I can start going on about the promotions. The much anticipated Russia satellite was launched a few days ago and is now operational. With the Spetznaz bonus secured, and additional funding before the report dings, I can now promote my Tactical troopers to get their bonus hit point. Realistically there was no reason to sandbag the other class promotions, but promoting everyone in one giant blitz lets me easily track who is promoting into what so I can have a more balanced roster. I generally want 4~6 of any class so that when someone gets injured or dies there will be people behind them to fill in their roles. I'll be providing a general overview of a class' roles, but specifics will be for later once people start promoting and I have to start deciding what build specifically I will do for them. There's 8 choices to be made down the line and plenty of variety for side grades if I so wish.

Names with a * next to their name were randomed into that class.

Image Assaults
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Image Infantry
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Image Gunners
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Image Rocketeers
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Image Engineers
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Image Medics
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Image Scouts
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Image Snipers
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With the Alien Materials research project completed, the following items are now available for manufacturing: Alloy Plating, HEAT Ammo, and the Phoenix Cannon. Additionally, Council Members can now put in requests for Meld, Elerium, and Alien Alloys.

Allow Plating is an upgraded Ceramic Plating, providing +2HP instead of +1. These items cannot stack.
HEAT Ammo provides 50% bonus damage against mechanical units. However, this particular ammo upgrade is only able to be equipped on a SHIV.
Phoenix Cannons are the first upgraded weapon available to Interceptors. They're essentially just an upgraded GAU-8. They aren't terrible, and I will probably try to get one or two later, but these aren't a high priority right now.

With that done, the next research project is shifted to Alien Weaponry, putting XCOM on the road to Laser Weaponry. With how many scientists I've been aggressively seizing with Council Requests, this project will only take 11 days to complete.

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I don't want to look at this hangar for long since it's so depressing to look at. Many of my available Interceptors are now swapped over to Stingray missiles. These have less damage overall than the Avalanches, but they have greater armor pen, which will be needed for the incoming UFOs. They'll also have a higher chance of not outright destroying Scout UFOs, which will generate missions, corpses, and alien materials. While cash is nice, I want more alien junk to either feed to the Council or into research projects later.

Also of note is a couple of Interceptors were moved over to North America. This wasn't strictly needed right now, but old habits took over from the earlier ass kickings. Later on, other continents can be used as hangar bays for holding more planes or as repair bays until they're ready. There is no downside to doing this minus the couple days it takes for interceptors to move from continent to continent.

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Just seconds away from the Council Report this request comes in and its huge. The normal alloy to cash exchange rate on the Grey Market is 1 to 3. This request is asking for a 1 to 10 exchange rate. Normally the exchange rate for these requests is not this good, so it's impossible for me to say no to it considering how much I need this cash. I'll get into how much this is saving my ass in a moment.

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The report is in. Nothing in here is very surprising. Depressing to see a splashed Satellite and so many escaped UFOs, but that's life. While the monthly reward says I gain 576 dollars, this does not take into account maintenance costs. I really only gain 251 dollars from this. The money from that swarming abduction, plus the council request, and the end of month bonus has XCOM sitting pretty on a stack of 489 dollars. That swarming abduction and the council request were some fortunate rolls. Losing the France satellite financially has not impacted me in the slightest, but has cost me additional panic in Germany, the UK, and France. Fortunately, this panic shouldn't do to much to me since the aliens are starting in Brazil. They'll likely be terrorizing Mexico next, so I'm hoping to have plenty of time to lower panic in the European theatre.

Now, what will I do with this nearly 500 dollar boon?

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-435 dollars right there. The satellites being built individually instead of in the same build order so that in the event I need to cancel one for an emergency interceptor I don't lose any time on the other one. This is a common tactic among players to expand their strategic options later on in the event of an emergent threat. I'm behind on my satellite game, so I am investing in 2 satellites to try and make up for lost time. More than likely I will have to cancel one for an interceptor, but I am hoping the European fleet can hold out for a little over a week for the American interceptors to get back online and transferred back over.

I'll definitely be placing a satellite over Germany for the cash, but the 2nd satellite I am not yet certain where to put. France gives a little bit more money, but the UK satellite would give me a country bonus and almost as much cash.

Normally I'd be building 2 alloy platings here, but due to the council request and bad RNG on the shootdowns, I only have enough alloys for 1. These would be given to my scouts and assaults to give them some extra cushioning from the stupid shit that I will be doing with them, but for the time being I will have to choose one or the other until I can scrounge some more alloys.

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On a final note, here we can take a look at the progress of every country's shielding. Most of this information is rehashed from the Council Report, so the panic states are not new information. What is developing though is the shields alongside every country's name. Russia is already at ~25%. The UK is at ~10%, with Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and India already at ~5% shield coverage. Already solid progress is being made. The fast I can get these full the faster I can do some really stupid shit if the roster can't handle things. I haven't really been paying attention to who has been getting what but Russia already being so high is pretty damn big.

While coming out of March my situation is far from ideal, the situation is not unsalvageable. April should prove to be very interesting both with the new aliens added to the regular roster and the full swing deployment of promoted troops. Plenty more new things await.

The rest of April 1st progresses without incident.

See you all whenever the next mission drops.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #725766

April 3rd
Operation Soaring Jester

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Jiphonwheels is dead. I killed them.

How and why did this happen? With the benefit of hindsight these things can be examined.

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In the early morning hours of April 3rd, an abduction response mission is generated in Honk Kong, China. The mission is only rated as a moderate with a cash reward of $90 on a Roadway map. By all accounts, at first glance, this mission appears to be another milk run type affair. The expected enemy count is on the lower end of the spectrum for missions run so far.

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My expectation going into the mission is there to be a long and narrow AO with plenty of indestructible cover in the form of cars. It is here that the first mistakes are made going into the mission. Many decisions made here in the pre-mission equip menu lead to the death of Jiphonwheels.

Firstly, RazorFX (an engineer) and JohnBlazed (a medic) are brought as a part of the squad's roster. My squad size is still limited to only 6 for now, meaning everyone who goes on these early missions needs to be able to bring something to the mission. I can't afford to have people who just sit and watch, yet. Roadways have long sightlines and sparse, often exclusively half, cover to be able to push up to. It'd be hard to even be able to get into a safe position to use the AP grenades they brought. RazorFX here doesn't even have sapper, and even if they did, HE grenades don't do enough damage to immediately explode car, only enough to initiate a cookoff for the turn after. The medic itself, while seemingly a logical choice in the event of emergency, brings nothing valuable to the team on a mission unless that emergency actually happens. A powerful alpha strike can completely nullify the necessity for a medic because the enemy is too busy being dead to be able to shoot. Neither of these two should have been brought on this mission.

Secondly, the item line up for the squad has a hole in it. There are 3 medkits spread across 3 people and only 1 smoke grenade. I directed my caution towards the wrong thing; healing damage taken. Instead, I should have been thinking more proactively with preventing receiving it all.

These 2 things weren't what killed Jiphonwheels. They opened the door for what was to come. When I first assembled the team I was running purely on instinct and muscle memory. JohnBlazed was instead replaced with a rocketeer. Aurikel instead of carrying a medkit was carrying the 2nd smoke grenade. Rocketeers, while cumbersome to use, are able to smash through enemies if prepared. They have more range and power than an engineer. Additionally, a fresh faced rocketeer is able to both cookoff cars with their rocket launcher and can also aim rockets along the Z axis; allowing them to deliver good effect on target for flying enemies. However, just before starting the mission, I hesitated. For some reason I became fixated on the lack of a medic and reorganized the team to include one, dropping the rocketeer. Recalling the lost-knowledge of runs before, I brought rocketeers on these missions because they're the sledgehammer solution to an entrenched position; one with a long reach. Their rockets instantly cook off cars which at this stage in the game do enough damage to out right kill some enemies. They don't even have to hit the enemy, just their cover on maps like what I expected.

Then I thought back to my usual set up for snipers and replaced their smoke with a medkit. The reason my snipers in the past had medkits is because I wouldn't bring medics to begin with on a mission like this. Snipers are so far removed from the fighting that they would basically never need it themselves, and would thusly always be available to rush forward to use it if necessary.

I was perfectly set up to take this mission on before doing these 2 changes.

In regards to the rest of the squad...

Van Doorn reappears in order to further my goals of getting a Corporal. I'm already late, and he's my best bet now. If he gets through this mission unscathed I can fatigue him for the next mission to cap him off and meet my next most immediate tactical concern.

Batman as Scout is here to run overwatches and is carrying a motion detector to screen for close contact.

Jiphonwheels is meant to be the team's spearhead. Getting up close with the enemy and shooting through the expected half cover of the map in order to continue the push.

Aurikel is here to shoot on any potentially exposed enemies that the team uncovers. It is very often on roadway maps that after activating a pod of enemies that they flank themselves trying to rush to cover. Pushing up after revealing would then allow the sniper to take free kills and allow the rest of the team to smash any alien that manages to get good cover, simplifying things.

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Another problem. This is, again, one of the Roadway maps that deceives. While narrow, it is not nearly as long as other roadways, making this map actually quite small. If RazorFX had a pair of HE grenades they would actually be able to destroy some of the cover to allow easier brute force tactics.

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And this is the lesser of my two favorite spots to spawn on this map. While heavy cover is plentiful at first, very little of it is usable. Depending on how contact is generated here, these two wide full cover blocks will obstruct sight to one side or the other depending on where they take cover. The cover itself is also fragile. The truck to my left has absolutely no cover at any point while pushing up, and a car further down the way allows anything there to flank it. On the right, while the bus is able to be entered, much of the cover facing outward is half cover, and the full cover is easily flanked from outside. It can be used to advance, but exposes anyone inside to anything outside. On a map so narrow it is not often this position can be safely taken. Alternatively, one can push on the right side of the bus to obscure LOS, but the only cover break between either end of the bus is a half cover car.

The only way to advance is straight down the middle of the map. These things on their own aren't awful. There still aren't that many enemies on the map...

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Problem. The first pod of the map is just past all this full cover. There's no maneuverability for my team, while the opposition is able to freely expand the line left and right to allow additional combatants to get on line. This further exposes the weakness of the cover available to the team, basically only allowing the left positioned troops to engage left, and the right positioned troops to engage right.

There's nothing to do but inch forward and initiate contact. The sniper perches up and steadies their weapon while the rest go on overwatch.

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The full cover fortunately lets the squad sneak up quite close, relatively speaking. It is my hope to be able to alpha strike these guys with the AP grenades on Razor, and mop up stragglers with Batman and Jiphon. After some more waiting, however, it turns out this pod is stationary. No amount of overwatching will initiate contact on my terms. I have to go first, sadly.

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Van Doorn reveals 3 sectoids, who spread out over a wide area in half cover. This isn't usually a problem except for the fact they pulled backwards. The engineer cannot get in range this turn to be able to throw their AP grenades.

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Van Doorn suppresses the sectoid so he can see to apply holo, and Aurikel, being already steadied, has a 73% combined chance to hit. As you can clearly see, they flub it.

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Worse yet, a pod of enemies has snuck up close on the right. I don't know for certain where they are, but I can't advance with Jiphon and Batman in order to get them in to knife fight the sectoids. I don't know exactly what this pod contains but I heard drones and thin men earlier from sound cues. Seeing this, my suspicion is that they are patrolling straight into my right flank around the bus due to their proximity to the map border. I deploy Batman and Jiphon to catch this maneuver.

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I decide to be conservative. With 3 sectoids up I pop smoke. The only smoke the team has. While this isn't an objectively bad move, this also isn't a terribly pressing situation. The sectoids can't focus fire anyone in much the same way that my own team is unable to. Even if someone were to take an unlucky hit here, there is an almost impossible likely hood for a follow up to finish them off.

This decision is one of the contributing factors in what comes later.

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The Thin Men do not push the right flank. Instead, they rotate into the middle and join the fray. Jiphon and Batman are now completely out of position to be able to involve themselves in the fight. The sectoids on the right psi-spam Van Doorn and manage to connect their 2nd mindfray.

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Despite Van Doorn getting mindfrayed here, the situation is still not very dire. I consider my options.

I can't really push forward. And sitting still to duke it out in a straight fight with 3 thin men up isn't the best idea. If they can't get good shots they'll just start spamming their ranged poison attack, inflicting an arguably worse debuff than the sectoid's mindfray since it deals damage on nearly every action made and lasts far longer. Batman runs forward to clear the overwatch in order to facilitate a withdrawal. During their advance, they spot an exposed thin man. Unfortunately nobody is in a position to be able to capitalize on it. Not even the sniper, since nobody can get into a position to spot them while also still being able to break LOS.

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After all of this posturing and repositioning, JohnBlazed finally manages to kill 1/6 active aliens. Max rolling on a 47% to kill one of the 3 thin men. Finally some progress.

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Batman pushes up to break any overwatches so the team can finally start getting some action and reveals something demoralizing. A 3rd pod of enemies is waiting just beyond LOS.

Nobody can push safely without pulling additional enemies.

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Not only can I not go forward, nobody can go backwards. There's no where left to run since the team is still stuck in spawn. Aurikel manages to connect a shot, but min rolls. JohnBlazed takes it home and reduces the thin man count to 1, with 3 sectoids remaining. Jiphonwheels pushes on the right side of the bus to initiate a flanking maneuver. Pod be damned, something has got to give.

This is the Jiphon's first foot into death's door.

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Bad luck. Van Doorn in the meanwhile resists a 60% psi panic from the sectoid he was suppressing.

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The final pod nears ever closer. The only reason it hasn't already activated is because JohnBlazed is on the right side of his cover, obscuring vision to their left. With a thin man still alive, there are just not any good options right now. It is here that I make a move that puts Jiphon's other foot past death's door.

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I push Jiphon into position, flank the thin man and a sectoid, but activate 4 more drones. The enemy total is now 4 drones and 3 sectoids. The flanked sectoid is expected to die, being suppressed by Van Doorn. 2 sectoids and 4 drones.

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RazorFX's AP grenade rolls abysmally low on its damage, both due to RNG but mainly because 3 drones are flying above the ground and are only in the grenade's outermost area of effect. With sapper and HEAT warheads this maneuver could have actually killed 2 of them. Unfortunately, Razor is only a specialist and does not have either of these perks. It is here my mind begins calculating. I know for a fact those drones are going to try and go for Jiphonwheels. They may or may not be able to flank them, I'm not sure, but the point is they'll gun for them.

It is here I switch to my sniper to look for my 2nd smoke grenade. Except I didn't bring it...

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The door begins closing behind Jiphonwheels.

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A 17% chance to hit with a 20% chance to panic both roll successfully. If Jiphon had been in smoke this shot would have had a 0% chance to hit.

The door creeps closer.

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The person most equipped and in position to be able to help them is panicked.

The light begins to fade.

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Van Doorn kills the sectoid flanked by Jiphon, though they destroy JohnBlazed's cover in the process. Fortunately this move happened last and allowed JB to safely make it to cover on my next turn. Unfortunately, JB and Van Doorn have no more ammo for their primary weapons.

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Aurikel manages to sink a shot and kill 1 of the drones threatening Jiphon.

Nobody else can help them.

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The door shuts behind Jiphon.

Now looking at this a few things can be looked back on to have avoided this in the first place.

Had I saved the smoke from earlier, it could have been employed at that critical moment before Jiphon was attacked.
Had Aurikel had been equipped with the smoke grenade, they could have thrown it at them before Jiphon was shot preventing this from even happening.
Had a rocketeer been a part of the team they would have been able to instantly kill possibly all 4 drones upon activation, or able to nuke the thin men earlier to nullify the necessity of pushing on the right flank.
Had Razor not been the target of a psi-panic they had decent odds at killing 2/4 drones threatening Jiphon, possibly even 3. Aurikel then could try to target the last. Either outcome of these hypothetical saves Jiphon.

I also could have just not done what I did. Instead, used RazerFX to start nading the closest enemies to start clearing the board without activating the drone pod. Then using Jiphon I could protect my right flank from the thin man. It can't be said if what happens after that results in everyone living, but in the immediate aftermath that course of action doesn't kill anyone.

Getting hit and immediately panicking afterwards was only a ~3% chance of occurring. All of those near misses from last month? Donpedrito, Diaspora, and MysteryMeat? All of that has now come back around. I don't think there's anything more poetic than this being how the first person of Campaign 140 dies. A long chain of seemingly innocuous deficiencies, alongside some bad rolls, culminates in a fatal blowout costing the life of one of XCOM's soldiers. They will not be the last.

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Rude.

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Aurikel picks up another kill at the top of XCOM's next turn, avenging Jiphon.

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Batman picks up a kill and clears the left flank, also flanking the sectoid that poked a hole in their armor.

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Van Doorn picks up another kill, leaving just the drones.

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Instead of taking a free flanking shot on Razer or JB at point blank range they hit Van Doorn for 3 with a 26% chance, putting him in the infirmary after the mission. To describe myself as livid after this is an understatement. The depths of the AI's (un)intelligence is beyond my comprehension. They successfully identified who I hedged my Corporal hopes on and took them out immediately after killing one of my soldiers.

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The remaining drones are easily cleaned up by Batman and Van Doorn and the mission ends with no further incident.

Despite this being a victory, it is entirely embittered by the death of Jiphonwheels and knowing that multiple things I did ultimately lead up to that moment. No rocketeer, no 2nd smoke, the aggressiveness of that right flank, and others. Further compounded by just a bad situation due to my spawn point, the positioning of the enemies, the map size, and some truly terrible fucking rolls at the worst times. The team fought all of the enemies on their half of the map, never being able to push out of spawn.

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However, behold, I have baited you. In the end, JohnBlazed, Aurikel, and Batman all promoted to Lance Corporal.

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JB gets the choices between Suppression, Steadfast, and Field Surgeon. Suppression is the same as the gunner's, just allowing them to use their rifle to apply it instead. Steadfast works the same as Van Dorn's, preventing the deaths of allies or receiving damage from incurring a panic check. Their final ability choice, exclusive to Medics, is Field Medic. This ability reduces the wound timer received on all troopers, and in the case of 1HP injuries; removes them entirely and instead incurring only the fatigued effect. In the past, damn near every medic I ever took would pick up Field Surgeron. This ability makes them passive observers instead of active participants, furthering their usefulness only if an emergency occurs. Picking up Suppression however, allows them to control problem enemies alongside the gunner. Although their rifle's ammo capacity limits this ability, there are items and later projects that can increase their magazine size to allow greater up time.

Aurikel gets the choices between Low Profile, Deadeye, and Lone Wolf. Low Profile allows low cover to provide the benefits of high cover. Deadeye increases their aim against enemies in flight by 15, effectively halving their flying defense bonus. Finally they get Lone Wolf, giving them +10 aim and crit chance if they are more than 7 tiles away from the nearest ally. Low Profile is a good fucking perk, but on a sniper they won't be needing it if I space them correctly. Doubly so if they're using the full size rifle. Lone Wolf is more versatile than Deadeye, allowing that +10 aim to work against both flying and grounded enemies, while also increasing their base crit chance. It works well for them, as Snipers are often far enough from the team to trigger this. Instead, I take Deadeye. There will be a specific enemy later that a properly tooled sniper can completely invalidate with 1 shot and it requires Deadeye to work.

Batman, like Diaspora before them, gets to choose between Holo-Targeting, Damn Good Ground, and Lone Wolf. They're taking Holo for now, to later be built into another Scouty-Scout.

Van Doorn, however, is taken out for 10 days on a 1HP injury having rolled nearly max for a 1HP injury. Funny enough, if a Field Surgeon Medic had been present on the mission he would only be fatigued.

Jiphon dying is a fucking disaster, man. I need Lance Corporal Assaults and they would have promoted from that mission, giving me a safety net for what is to come later in the month. At the end of the day, both of my tactical goals were busted. I am still no closer to getting my much desired Corporal, the next latest and greatest hope of achieving that in Jessica, JohnBlazed, and Batman. All of whom are still at least 2 missions away from it. The only brightside is that I have 5 more assaults, and in the grand scheme of things their death does not negatively impact the roster as a whole too much.

Alongside the many corpses brought back from that mission, China donates 90 space bucks to XCOM bringing the total fund up to 144.

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The barracks at XCOM HQ is heavy with solemn faces in silent mourning for their lost comrade. It is quietly written in Jiphonwheels' file that they acquitted themself commendably in the line of duty; corroborated by the after action reports of those present on the mission. A celebration of memory is had at the bases' bar. After all participants have filtered out, a single still full shot glass remains on the bar.

The rest of the day proceeds uneventfully.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by Not-Dorsidarf » #725782

RIP first campaign casualty. Being able to unpick the chain of bad strategic decisions, bad tactical decisions, and bad luck that leads to an unwelcome demise is always excruciating.


(Load time is getting a little long on the page with so many images too)
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kieth4 wrote: infrequently shitting yourself is fine imo
There is a lot of very bizarre nonsense being talked on this forum. I shall now remain silent and logoff until my points are vindicated.
Player who complainted over being killed for looting cap office wrote: Sun Jul 30, 2023 1:33 am Hey there, I'm Virescent, the super evil person who made the stupid appeal and didn't think it through enough. Just came here to say: screech, retards. Screech and writhe like the worms you are. Your pathetic little cries will keep echoing around for a while before quietting down. There is one great outcome from this: I rised up the blood pressure of some of you shitheads and lowered your lifespan. I'm honestly tempted to do this more often just to see you screech and writhe more, but that wouldn't be cool of me. So come on haters, show me some more of your high blood pressure please. 🖕🖕🖕
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #725808

Not-Dorsidarf wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 3:05 pmRIP first campaign casualty. Being able to unpick the chain of bad strategic decisions, bad tactical decisions, and bad luck that leads to an unwelcome demise is always excruciating.

The second Jiphon panicked so much of that just shot through my head like lightning. The thing I had to ruminate longest on was the rocketeer pick. While frustrating, it's also fascinating to think back on why I approached certain problems in certain ways.

(Load time is getting a little long on the page with so many images too)

fugg :DD

I'll have to think on what smaller moments I can instead link the images for (without embedding).
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #726019

April 7th

In the waning hours of the 7th; UFO-006, a Scout, is detected in low orbit. The first satellite hunter mission of the month. I can't be certain exactly how many there's going to be this month, but the end goal is the same no matter how many. Flight Officer "Spitfire" Shankar is dispatched to greet the intruder. Since April has come around many of the Interceptors have been flipped to Stingray missiles. I want to open with the Avalanche missiles for the high damage then, if a 2nd interception is required, dispatch the next pilot with Stingrays to increase my odds of generating a crash with the lower base damage missiles.

Spitfire shows up the entire flight roster by 1-2'ing the UFO. This guy is the newest member of the team so far. They take just under 50% of their health in damage, but this is ordinary. In fact, this was a more typical engagement than all of what March had to deal with. After the death of Slick I guess I'm finally getting sent some pilots who have some dog-fighting experience, or the fly boys are getting together to combine their notes. The UFO splashes in north central Russia successfully, giving the tactical boys and girls a mission to do some cleaning up on.

However, the hologlobe has ticked over to April 8th with all the flying about; so that update will be for then. While I did play this mission immediately after the splash, it gives me an excuse to pad the thread to hopefully get to the next page just that little bit faster and spare future readers from having to load 300 images in 1 go. I also just spent a week getting blue-balled by the mission schedule and I've been hankering to play. Even booted up an older save in order to get some stick time and fuck around in a later stage game.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #726077

April 8th
Operation Enduring Stranger

► Show Spoiler

Meet the team for the crash site of UFO-006. The site was described as "riparian", which at the time only meant to me that it was going to be a wilderness map. Upon googling it means something like wetland or river adjacent.

LCPL Medic JohnBlazed; Carrying a medkit and a smoke
SPEC Gunner ThirdCaliber; Carrying a ceramic plate and the 2nd medkit
SPEC Scout KamikazeBear; Carrying motion detector and ceramic plate
SPEC Assault SniperKiller; Carrying the 2nd motion detector and a ceramic plate
SPEC Infantry Personator; Carrying the 2nd smoke and a laser aim module
SPEC Rocketeer Cats; Carrying a 2nd HE warhead and a LAM

I'm not fucking around this time, the 2nd smoke is being brought. Lessons learned from Jiphon would also exclude the participation of a Medic, but JohnBlazed has suppression; allowing them to lockdown a 2nd survived alien alongside ThirdCaliber. They're also the latest and greatest hope for finally getting the much desired Corporal that I desperately need.

Alongside that we've got some new stuff sneaking into this mission.

Laser Aim Modules are available at campaign start and increase aim by 4. That doesn't seem very powerful, but for shooting classes like Infantry and Sniper they get good mileage out of it. Rocketeers also get increased effect from LAMs, so it isn't a bad idea to sneak one onto them.

Cats is the first Rocketeer to see action in this campaign. Their rockets aren't super accurate right now, but with Steady Aim and the LAM this inaccuracy can be mitigated some. As they promote and get more perks and aim their rockets will start becoming damn near pinpoint. The warhead they are carrying in their pocket reduces their mobility but allows them a 2nd use of their rocket launcher. They only start with 1 and I hate a literal 1trick pony. They could also carry a shredder rocket for squad support, but that isn't necessary right now. I want them to be able to reasonably keep up with the team while allowing some tactical leeway in the usage of their ordinance.

One may also note the total lack of any flashbangs whatsoever and wonder how my approach to the Outsider is going to differ compared to previous missions. With SniperKiller the Assault and KamikazeBear the Scout, the team can lock the Outsider down with suppression and smoke themselves to allow them to push up freely and eliminate the HVT.

► Show Spoiler

This map is neither good nor bad. It has virtually no exploitable terrain on it and cover is pretty sparse, but there's a good sprinkling of usable high cover in the form of trees and gnarled wooden formations in the swamp's shallows. I forget if you can set water on fire so I'll need to see if I can test that later. Also spoiler alert: not much super exciting happens on this mission.

► Show Spoiler

Off the bat at spawn there's plenty of options on where to maneuver. This image was taken with a slight west bias, but the team is at the south edge of the map in the middle. Ideally I want to sweep from one edge of the map to the other clearing the roaming pods, collecting Meld where possible, and avoiding the UFO. Meld canisters in April are worth a lot more than they were in March, so getting them is now a larger priority than before. I decide to sweep the east edge of the map while also trying to creep up the hill. However, the clarion call of meld calls me to the eastern most edge of the map and I pursue it with audio cues of xeno contact ahead of the squad somewhere. Motion scanners a moment later reveal a nearby pod so I set the squad up.

► Show Spoiler

After trying to entice them to move into my formation, they opt not to move and appear stationary. I advance closer and ThirdCaliber gives a perfect example of a 17 vs a 16 sight radius. Humans get 1 more tile of vision than aliens, so he can see them while not activating them. I move the squad closer still and prepare to initiate contact. In situations like this I ordinarily like to open up with a rocket launch but I'll elaborate very shortly on why I didn't do that. Instead, with the squad positioned closely behind ThirdCaliber, I initiate contact with JohnBlazed.

► Show Spoiler

Behold rocket dispersion. In base XCOM:EW rockets have a flat 90% chance of hitting their target with the only way to mitigate that inaccuracy chance is to research an end game rocket launcher. In Long War as the rocketeer's aim increases and dependent on perk choice, their rocket scatter goes down. The 2.1 +/- refers to tiles, so it can go up to 2 tiles in any direction except up and down the Z axis. I wanted to get as accurate a rocket hit as I could to either wipe them out or deal damage so their DR doesn't cuck anyone.

► Show Spoiler

Okay, not the greatest introduction for Rocketeers ever but the team can easily mop this up. In the process of killing the remaining drones, one of them managed to reduce damage by 3 against one of my shotgunners. That 2.1 DR goes so fucking hard. Keep in mind it's 1.4 base, +50% against shotguns (2.1). Behind this pod, nestled in the most north-east corner of the map, was a Meld canister. Upon collection it gives 12 Meld. Double what any canister before has given. A 2nd Meld is also located nearby, closer to the UFO. I do decide to risk pulling the Outsider with this maneuver but get lucky. The team is coming home with 24 Meld, doubling what I managed to collect in the entirety of March from 1 mission.

With all meld recovered I can also now take as long as I want to complete the rest of the mission.

► Show Spoiler

A 2nd pod patrols into the team after having collected the Meld and is unceremoniously killed by overwatch fire, having accomplished nothing but achieving the ultimate dream for any bullet. At this point I start maneuvering to the hill mentioned from the spawn and ultimately towards the UFO it overlooks. Pushing this hill can be pretty dicey since it just barely sneaks a glance into the UFO, allowing for unfortunate activations of the Outsider. Some pieces of cover here are blacklisted due to how many Outsiders I've activated from moving there.

► Show Spoiler

This latest predicament is somewhat more complex than it may seem. I've also noted other encounters to hopefully give a sense of where the squad has been moving so far and shit. Kind of a lot for just the east side of the map. The sectoids activated but sadly did not take any damage from overwatch fire and I can't push them without activating the Outsider, which from pushing Meld 2 with a motion detector earlier I know is very close to the visible sectoid. All of that extremely valuable full cover that I could totally use to kill those sectoids with? Yeah, that's bait. All of it. It'll pull the Outsider and the fight suddenly gets much harder. I could potentially take the Outsider and the sectoids in this fight, but the gunner and infantry can't get up to the full cover to participate. That'd mean JohnBlazed would have to suppress the Outsider and any surviving sectoids from the turn would focus them with the Outsider following up.

I decide to pull back, break LOS, and try to get some cheeky overwatch hits. Also, despite being literally "higher ground", this terrain feature is not high enough to actually confer the high ground aim bonuses.

► Show Spoiler

The trap doesn't really pan out as all my shots miss, allowing the 3rd sectoid to push right up against the base of the hill. The plan is to suppress the 2 the team can see, set up for a rocket, then blow them the fuck up. Or at least their cover. I also drop smoke juuuust in case. Also SniperKiller is flanking wide on the left just in case things don't pan out. I'm pretty confident this is the last patrol on the map.

► Show Spoiler

That 3rd sectoid? Somehow has vision on 3rdCal. Fortunately they biff the fray. SniperKiller gets suppressed, but it is of no concern. One of the suppressed sectoids goes on overwatch and since ammo is a bit low I just run it with the Scout. Now the assault can push up close if need be, but the hope is the rocket kills all the cover and lets everyone mop up.

I can't recall getting this many instances of LOS fuckery so early in any of my campaigns. Really quite spectacular.

► Show Spoiler

The rocket does not have the desired effect of destroying both cover pieces, but it does still kill one sectoid; clearing the suppression on SniperKiller to go in for the flank and sink the kill on the 2nd sectoid. The 3rd one is placed in a bad spot though. I can't just push up to it without pulling the Outsider so I have to loop the entire team around on the right side at the base of the hill to actually kill it. I really do not like gunfights with Outsiders. The sectoid after some maneuvering reveals itself and I lock it down with 3rdCal and keep the team moving on its flank to secure the kill. In the meanwhile, they take a 3 point hit to the face from a 15% chance but avoid any infirmary time due to their ablative health.

Also with the end so close in sight I decide to start doing an XP check to see if anyone is able to promote from kills. This is not available without the Tactical Information mod. Most are not, but if SniperKiller is fed the Outsider they promote to Lance Corporal. The sectoid can be fed to anyone but won't promote anyone.

► Show Spoiler

Rest in piss Gleep-Gloop the Sectoid. Instead of taking any shots I instead just suppress it to really just fuck with it. The team prepares to move on the Outsider.

► Show Spoiler

The perfect Outsider kill. Instead of retreating deeper into the UFO, it instead comes towards the squad, letting everyone set up SniperKiller for the kill and the promotion secure. To reiterate, when doing approaches like these, do not take cover at the edges of the walls or you will pull early. Also ignore that the Scout is using their shotgun like a pistol, that is a funny bug that happens all the time when swapping to someone's secondary.

► Show Spoiler

Ooh yeah baby. Lance Corporal Assault and also a promotion on ThirdCaliber. Also Dr. Shen is the base's Chief Engineer, not the Chief of Research and Medical like Vahlen is.

► Show Spoiler

Behold the first look at a full perk tree. 1 choice among 3 a total of 6 times. The first choice here is dumb fucking easy with Close Combat Specialist (CCS). This ability has as much action economy as an Assault has ammo and a shitloat of utility. This is going to be key to SniperKiller's kit for the entirety of the campaign. I cannot understate just how fucking huge this perk is. There is a niche circumstance where I do not want CCS, but that's a time for later. For now, one of my tactical goals has finally actually been met.

Instead of taking Holo-Targeting like others before him, ThirdCaliber will instead be taking Flush. This perk, at the cost of 2 ammo, has increased accuracy and forces an enemy to move at the cost of reduced damage. This'll be combo'd with another perk later.

► Show Spoiler

Big haul. 25 meld and an intact flight computer. The damaged power source and flight computer can be freely sold for cash, bringing XCOM's total liquidity to 189 dollars. Once I get that Corporal I am going to need about 300 monies and a week before I can finally reap the beloved rewards.

The rest of the day passes uneventfully. Many things coming together, though sadly I don't think I will get the full benefits of what I wanted from the Corporal as early as I had wanted. I'll have to wait and see where the mission schedule places things.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #726125

April 9th
Operation Crystal Shield

► Show Spoiler
To describe my initial reaction as excited would be an understatement. I out loud said, "Oh fuck" and had to take a second to calm down and think through rationally what of 2 things this could reasonably be. While this could be the supply barge attempting to gather next month's resources, that chance is incredibly unlikely at this stage in the game and it's very likely that it just flies off into the distance. It's a ~8% chance to get the supply barge to land in an assailable position. Attempting to assault a landed large with a 6 man team in April is suicidally difficult. There's a shitload of enemies (~30), they receive a tech jump for the mission's duration (harder enemies, later enemies appear earlier, etc), and it takes place on a big ass fucking map. It's an exciting mission to attempt and then immediately fucking evac because you made 1 bad pull.

However, the reality is far more mundane. Fast forwarding it instead turns out to be one of the many abductions in the schedule for this month. A swarming abduction in Germany, paying out 115 space buckaroos. Would have been nice to try a supply barge though.

► Show Spoiler

Meet the team for this OP.

LCPL Medic JohnBlazed; carrying a smoke and a medkit.
LCPL Sniper Aurikel; carrying the 2nd smoke and a LAM.
LCPL Scout Batman; carrying a motion detector and a ceramic plate.
SPEC Rocketeer Bauer; carrying a 2nd HE warhead and a LAM.
SPEC Assault SpaceInvader; carrying the 2nd motion detector and wearing the newly finished alloy plate.
SPEC Gunner SharkBait; carrying the 2nd medkit and a ceramic plate.
  • The map was described as being a roadway, so Bauer is on the docket instead of an engineer.
  • Aurikel is also being brought to swat flying enemies with Batman to set them up with holo-targeting.
  • SpaceInvader, with the newly built Alloy Plate, now has 10HP. It is going to take a while before anyone else can catch up to this.
► Show Spoiler

You have got to be fucking kidding me. This is another roadway map that doesn't really play "as advertised". At this point I'm starting to wonder if I ever knew what a roadway map was. This map features a lot of destructible cover and is pretty wide. High cover in the middle basically doesn't exist making pushing from one end to the other a nightmare for attackers (me). When initially putting the team together I had actually slotted Jessica, XCOM's only sapper engineer, into the team before reading the map descriptor. I was not excited to see this map.

► Show Spoiler

Out the gate at spawn there's limited full cover. A motion detector usage reveals a pod of enemies to my front left on the street near some cars and a single enemy in the bus. The lone enemy is really weird since the motion detector is in range to be able to detect an entire pod, it's not like the others just barely out of range. I'm not certain what this enemy's deal is but I wheel left to initiate contact with the enemy after some position juggling and set up. On the wind I can hear thin men, sectoids, drones, and the new enemy I've been dreading.

► Show Spoiler

Meet the Floater, the new flying enemy now able to appear on all missions going forward. They're not too bright, but their ability to fly makes them a menace. They come innately with the ability to suppress and an ability called Launch that allows them to functionally teleport to somewhere (usually behind the team). Aurikel is here to kill these guys with extreme prejudice alongside Bauer. However, the pull does not turn out ideally for me. Immediately after that picture is taken, the Floaters spread out 4 different directions but also took cover instead of flying. One even decided to forgo flying and taking cover to instead just stand in the middle of the street exposed. Their positions are such that actually rocketing them isn't the one size kicks all ass solution that was I hoping for so I have to run down the line killing who I can, suppressing who I can't and mitigating who escapes both those fates.

I do decide to launch the rocket anyway and it does nothing but expose one of the floaters who took cover. I would have loved to have had Aurikel kill the floater that decided to expose itself, but their position put a piece of high cover between them. She can't see them as a result, and moving anywhere from where she is could expose her to a risky shot. LOS fuckery with the high cover piece also prevents me from suppressing the 2nd floater who sits next to a burning car, which will explode on my next turn. I instead throw up an overwatch and some smoke and prepare to weather the storm of incoming fire.

► Show Spoiler

Like I said, floater AI is a unique kind of special. When someone suppresses or goes on overwatch floaters start doing weird stuff. Like standing next to a car about to explode instead of running. The AI is perfectly capable of being aware a car is exploding. This guy just kind of decided "Nah, I'd win" and explodes to death. To the left of this guy is where the exposed floater was, who runs deep into the fog of war.

► Show Spoiler

With JohnBlazed just 1 kill away from promoting, and this floater isolated, I decide to set them up for the kill. Batman holo-targets it, Aurikel softens it up with a 5 point, reduced to 4, hit, and JB takes it home to secure their Corporal promotion.

As long as nobody dies.

There's still a floater out there so I hold up and wait for it to reappear. Instead of overwatching with everyone, anyone who has to sit in low cover hunkers down to wait for the arrival of our friendly floater. On the wind I hear thin men.

► Show Spoiler

The floater brings in some drones for the party to kill. While the drones are closer, I'm more scared of the floater since the drones have really shit aim. Batman lazes it with a holo and Aurikel, with their Deadeye and steadied weapon combined, give her a 92% chance to hit the floater, who is flying. They only manage to hit it for 5 sadly. I also make an attempt to rocket the two closest drones with Bauer who proceeds to completely whiff it off left, dealing only 2 damage to 1 drone. JohnBlazed instead has to suppress the drone on the right, while SharkBait suppresses the floater in the back to keep him from running away or getting a cheeky shot.

Except Sharkbait still gets hit for 3, reduced to 2, on a 35% from the furthest drone that Bauer only winged. Bauer then finishes this drone off with his carbine, rolling a 3 reduced to 2. 40% chance that drone survives. SpaceInvader cleans up one of the drones while BatMan sets Aurikel up for another kill (that they happily take).

The board is now cleared minus that one floater. The squad holds position until the final floater reveals itself. Fun fact; this mission took place over 42 minutes. 22 of those minutes was just spent waiting for the enemy to come to me. After revealing itself, I decide to start funneling kills into SpaceInvader to try and get another LCPL Assault, and Space blows its brains out with a 10 point crit with the help of a run and gun.

The rest of the squad starts maneuvering to the right towards the bus, with Batman and SpaceInvader leading the charge to hopefully jump out at a nearby pod spotted on the motion tracker.

► Show Spoiler

Sadly I end up pulling them before everyone was in position. The high ground let them see through the bus to where Space and Batman were. A bit awkward, but workable. 3 of them take cover next to a statue on the left, while 1 of the sectoids runs down the stairs to take cover next to the police car that leads to a commanding flank on the bus' exterior. Fortunately, Space sends a buckshot surprise through the sectoids brain on a 38% leaving the bus flank secured and allowing the team to take cover to engage the statue enemies.

► Show Spoiler

This is where the turn ends. Suppressing the high cover thin man so he doesn't spit poison anywhere. JB wasn't in position to suppress the second so the other thin man and sectoid get to act freely this turn.

The both thin men end up taking ineffective shots at the team, while the sectoid takes a shot at Batman and nails them for 3 on a 23% and panicking them. I decide to get aggressive here since their hunker is going to wear out on their turn and they're in the danger zone. I push up aggressively with SpaceInvader to start applying pressure, which flanks the full cover thin man. JB suppresses the unflanked one while SharkBait suppresses the flanked one. This is a likely kill on one while making the other ineffective. The sectoid, however, is able to act freely. It was my hope that they'd shoot SpaceInvader in the face since they were in low cover right in front of them, but instead they overwatch.

The flanked thin man tries to make a run for it, but SharkBait blows their brains out. Sadly, JB and SharkBait are both out of ammo and unable to suppress the overwatch.

► Show Spoiler

Aurikel takes a long flanking shot on the thin man, turning them into a dead man. The sectoid is tantalizingly close and, at the time, I thought the last enemy on the map. But, if you've been keeping track, this is only 3 pods of enemies on a swarming mission. Doesn't that seem kind of low? Only 11 enemies so far? I seriously don't know what the fuck I was doing but this moment prompts me to make 2 of the objectively worst decisions I have made in this campaign so far.

Where the death of Jiphon was a cascading failure of preparation, they had 1 very unlucky roll that put them in the position to ultimately be killed. What is about to happen was just plain fucking stupid and there's really no excuse beyond my brain turned off.

After clearing the overwatch with SpaceInvader using a run and gun dash (dashes reduce the chance for overwatch attacks to hit), they get into position to flank the sectoid and...

► Show Spoiler

Literally the moment I made this move I realized that sectoid wasn't the last enemy. Then I saw the green bodies on the ground in the fog of war and realized I had just stepped on my own dick. Fffffffuck. Space finishes off the flanked sectoid leaving just the remaining 4 enemies, almost all of whom are completely out of vision of the rest of the squad (who are also not in a position to optimally help Space).

► Show Spoiler

Now, if you hadn't gathered, the first inexcusably fucking idiotic move was rushing SpaceInvader up on a run and gun dash without properly counting my pods. The second was this fucking shit. Batman has no cover on the side that matters most, and only 4HP because I didn't have time to heal them. I laze with the holo to try and get Aurikel to clear the drone who proceeds to miss, alongside Bauer. Aurikel had hit all of their shots beforehand and it was a fool's thought to think that just because they had been slaying all mission before that they would just keep on slaying.

► Show Spoiler

Now, this move is somewhat excusable. In a past life I would have known better, but at the time I was freaking out because "oh my god I just pulled in a shitty way" and I am 2.5 years out of practice. I knew Batman was in the danger zone so instead of trying to shoot with JB after missing with Aurikel and Bauer against the drone, I decide to heal Batman instead to weather the storm.

Except, fun fact, this circle is not actually indicative of the range of heal. It is in fact the 8 most adjacent tiles to the center. So JB moves here to heal Batman but is out of range. In the past I'd have the dev console on to be able to teleport JB 1 tile to the left so they'd be in range to actually apply their heal, but I had disabled it. In order to enable it you have to download a specific version of Long War with the dev console included and when I reinstalled my setup I didn't do that. Woe.

Now to see where the cards lay.

Space evades a 44% and then this happens.

► Show Spoiler

The entire time I was preparing for the drone to push up to flank Batman and Space, but there was a sectoid behind the van that I had not seen who manages to get a flank on Batman to crit them for 6. Had JB been able to heal them like I had wanted, Batman would be alive with 1HP.

With Batman dead, JohnBlazed loses their promotion from the deathless bonus and now needs another kill in order to promote to Corporal. The drone also, instead of actually flanking Space, decides to float further from them and hit them for 3 on a 50%.

My position after this is still bad. JB has no ammo, Aurikel hits a flower pot trying to aim for the drone, Sharkbait is too far away to be able to see any of the enemies, and Bauer is also unable to see any enemies. I back everyone off and let the enemy push forward. One sectoid goes on overwatch and another takes an ineffective shot against Bauer. The drone flies in a circle and does nothing. At the top of my next turn Aurikel misses the drone again. JB heals SpaceInvader with a medkit to bring them back to full while SharkBait suppresses the overwatching sectoid to allow Space to move on the left. Their run and gun is still on cooldown so I just dash them forward to be in position to flank them on the next turn.

► Show Spoiler

The aliens have a mostly unproductive turn. Mostly. The sectoid that SharkBait is suppressing decides to suppress back, only to immediately have a friend follow up and psi panic them. The drone continues to fly in a circle doing nothing because lmao. If you're wondering what the 3rd sectoid is doing, he's busy psi-ERP'ing his buddy from the traffic cones. Fucked up bros.

Space moves around the statue to flank Shark's suppressor and proceeds to paint the statue an alien blood green-orange. Aurikel finally adjusts their sights to 1 tap the drone, enforcing the now lethal no fly zone. JB and Bauer go on overwatch to prevent the 2 remaining sectoids from pushing up to flank the panicking SharkBait. In response, the psi-ERP'r hits Space for 4, not even damaging their health. Alloy Plate my beloved...

► Show Spoiler

Instead of actually fighting this bullshit I run the overwatch with Bauer to clear the way for SpaceInvader to kill the shooter and flank the final sectoid. JohnBlazed suppresses them, and fearing for its life on the next alien turn, the sectoid runs away and is turned into swiss grey. Space promotes to Lance Corporal and JohnBlazed gets the kill they needed to secure their promotion to Corporal, fulfilling a month's long tactical goal that was busted with Diaspora and Van Doorn when they got sent to sick bay by some, and I will quote myself, "some bullshit."

► Show Spoiler

Now, this fatality rate is not sustainable for XCOM at all. But the 2 people I've lost were both in classes that I could actually afford to lose somebody without it significantly effecting the roster. It's certainly not good, but I am hoping that with my Corporal now secured that some strange curse may have been lifted since JB was on both missions where somebody died.


Checking out an older save from 2~3 years ago, in the first 9 months of a different Iron Man campaign, I only lost 3 people. The mysterious powers that allowed this feat are currently lost to me and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I was bragging about that.

► Show Spoiler

FINALLY. THE OFFICER TRAINING SCHOOL. Had things gone to plan, this structure would have been unlocked at the end of March with Diaspora, already be completed by now, and the first major tactical upgrade acquired in the form of Squad Size 1. This upgrade requires 40 people to have received a promotion across the entire roster and can only be purchased after someone is promoted to Corporal and an OTS is constructed. 40 people is an oddly specific number, and you may recall that in March I was in a mad dash to promote as many people on my roster, with the hopes of promoting all 40. The size of my starting roster... Yes, the pieces are now all coming together.

I also have the ability to purchase the Tactical Officers upgrade, which would allow me to promote 3 people into Lieutenants. This gives them a unique perk choice independent from their normal class tree and a new ability. I'll elaborate on both of those when I actually get there.

► Show Spoiler

SpaceInvader promotes to Lance Corporal and is immediately given Close Combat Specialist like SniperKiller before them. Also if you're noticing the Assaults have oddly apt names that was by design when I promoted them. I couldn't help myself to have a close quarters flanker named SpaceInvader. It's too good, man.

Batman was a really fucking stupid way to lose someone and I already know what needs to be done in the future to prevent it from happening again. The pod compositions and enemy numbers are well understood on the wiki, so I'll be keeping track of how many pods have been activated on a mission versus how many can be expected on it. I at one point understood this intimately, but of course, many things are written in blood.

► Show Spoiler

With their promotion to Corporal, JohnBlazed is christened "Cookie". Everyone who promotes to Corporal is automatically given a random nickname. I also immediately pick up Smoke and Mirrors for them, which gives all support grenades +1 uses. The smoke grenade they carry can now be used twice, increasing their inventory efficiency. SaM also works with grenades conferred through abilities, so at Sergeant JohnBlazed will pick up the Smoke Grenade perk giving them 4 casts of smoke grenade if they take a smoke grenade with them. The smoke grenade perk also lets them throw a smoke as the first move their turn without ending it, ala Light 'Em Up, but that's getting ahead of myself.

In the strategy layer I begin building the Officer Training School, which will complete in 1 week. When it finishes I am going to be instantly picking up the +1 max squad size upgrade and maybe picking up the Lieutenant billets if I feel like it, I'm not sure yet. I also, for the first time that I can even remember, buy 2 new rookies for 50 dollars which will arrive in 7 days. They're not going to save me, and they won't be utilized until the squad size upgrade is in, but they'll be ready when they are. I also decide to hash out some Meld for 90 space bucks, leaving me with a total of about 150. I'll see where I'm at next week.

► Show Spoiler

The rest of the day passes by uneventfully.
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #726806

April 10th~15th Recap
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April 16th
Operation Spectral Sentinel
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Operation Unceasing Star
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #726852

April 17th
Operation Lost Hero
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Back again so soon, and with such a foreboding operation name! The week long lull in operations has seen fit to grace me with 2 days of missions. Most generous.

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Meet the team for this mission.

SPEC Rocketeer Bauer appears carrying a 2nd HE warhead and LAM.
SPEC Infantry Twelve appears carrying a medkit and a smoke grenade.
SPEC Gunner SharkBait appears carrying a ceramic plate and a 2nd medkit.
SPEC Sniper ShelteredFreak appears carrying a LAM and the 3rd medkit.
SPEC Assault Vincent carrying a motion detector and a ceramic plate.
SPEC Scout Jett carrying the 2nd motion detector and the alloy plate.
SPEC Engineer Acer202 carrying an HE AP combo.

Some notes on this mission since I've swapped some weapons around.

SharkBait is taking the LMG this time instead of the SAW. This gives them a 2 point higher max hit (8), 2 additional ammo, and limited squadsight of ~5 tiles. It's honestly closer to an MMG than it is an LMG, but honestly whatever. I'm expecting to be pretty static, moving up slowly, since this is a roadway map. It'll give them a buffer between getting shot at by others wanting to clear his suppression and the extra ammo means he can suppress 4 times in a row, as opposed to just 3. It'll be less if he has to actually shoot (-3), but usually they just sit down and die quietly. This weapon cannot be used after moving and it incurs a higher movement penalty.

ShelteredFreak is also going to be using the full size sniper rifle for the first time. Unlike the marksman rifle, this weapon has unlimited squadsight. So long as they have a clear line of fire to the target, they can hit it from literally anywhere on the map. Sadly, looking back at this, the full size rifle has almost entirely identical stats to the marksman rifle. The only difference is it has 8% more base crit chance. This weapon also cannot be used after moving, unless the user has Snap Shot.

I'm also carrying a few more medkit just because I am paranoid of thin man poison. Once I start unlocking more items and people start getting some perks things will start occupying those medkit and smoke slots.

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This isn't a terrible map for the loadout I have taken. The lay out of the map is sort of an L with one side of it being up a ramp. Being able to set up on the on ramp will give everyone high ground advantage over any enemies below them. It's a powerful position to be able to set up in, but I can't actually occupy that slot the squadsight support weapons I have will still get some good use.

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The team gets the best possible spawn for this map and their loadout at the high ground area. Sheltered and Shark can climb a ladder at the back of the bus to get vision over basically the entire map, high cover obstruction excluded. While bringing the full sized sniper rifle on Sheltered won't be doing them much good on this map, had it been one of the more linear roadways, it still would have performed adequately.

Off the bat, the motion detector picks up two pods down the ramp. Fortunately I can creep up pretty far without setting them off, and there's plenty of high cover to conceal my movements from them anyway. I get my squad support weapons steadied up and creep up to initiate contact.

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After some careful positioning, the enemy patrols into the team and I get a free turn of gently caressing the air around them as everyone misses. While Acer does manage to sink a hit, they min roll a 2 on their carbine and get it fully reduced by the drones' 1.4 DR. Ouch.

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The drones generously decide not to do anything after activating and present an attractive target for Bauer to rocket. For the first time so far, a rocketeer manages to actually hit their target and kill it. I swear these guys get good eventually. The remaining drone is unceremoniously gunned down later by volume of fire. Despite the initially promising engagement, things slow down due to how close multiple pods are to the bottom of the ramp. That normally wouldn't really be a problem except ShelteredFreak and SharkBait haven't been able to get up the ladder yet and actually set up. This delay basically kills any opportunity at recovering meld later in the mission.


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While finally getting up the ladder, SharkBait manages to peer over the edges of the ramp just enough to expose 2 sectoids (1 of whom is a leader) and a drone. This is a very awkward spot to pull enemies since almost nobody can see down to where they are in that corner without taking a position on the half cover railing. Not ideal since these guys can push up on the right with a ladder that I am too lazy to go back and highlight since I already clipped the image. I don't want to use Bauer's last rocket here since on the wind I heard thin men. Their cover down there is indestructible anyway.


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Now the problem is I don't want to move SharkBait off the bus. Even if the sectoids push up the ladder they won't be able to gain LOS on them without dashing. All I'd need to do is kill the drone and they're safe. I also can't push up since the only cover is the overturned tanker ahead of the team. Everyone would have to dash to get up to there. ShelteredFreak takes a steadied shot on the drone and proceeds to miss off into the distance. What possible collateral could have resulted from this is indeterminable.

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Twelve manages to put some damage on the board against the drone and Bauer takes it home from them with a 1 point hit. I also accidentally steady Twelve instead of throwing their smoke grenade here but oh well. I pull SharkBait back just a bit to be safe and hunker down with the people who have remaining actions.

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The remaining sectoids do not punish me for forgetting to smoke and instead approach passively. Sadly due to their position against the tanker, Sharkbait cannot see the visible sectoid. I decide to just brute force the enemy's cover since I have the high ground still and manage to put some numbers on with Twelve and an HE from Acer. No kills though yet. Vincent and Jett are still unable to approach as there are still nearby pods that would be activated if they advanced. I drop smoke with Twelve and get ready for the next turn from the sectoids.

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SharkBait is still entirely unable to see, sadly. And they can't push up since they won't be able to suppress due to the cumbersome LMG. Twelve fortunately blasts the overwatching sectoid on the right, but I accidentally run Sheltered into the one on the right and take a punishing 4 damage hit. At the time I had thought about running the overwatch with my scout, Jett, but hadn't actually done it. The wires got crossed in my head and oof ouchie. That's them out for a month. The worst part is, even with the overwatch now cleared, I can't really do much with it. I still can't push down the ramp without activating further enemies. With my turn expended to minimal effect, the sectoid decides to stare at the team with malicious intent instead of doing anything productive.

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Twelve obliges this sectoid with the sweet release of death, rolling a crit off an 8% chance. With the board cleared, I finally situate Sharkbait and Sheltered in position on the bus and can now push down the ramp.

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Uh oh. I appear to have miscounted my pods again. Though fortunately this time I am not punished for it. I had only been hearing thin men with the audio cues and had expected them to be the ones further to the right. With that in mind I decide to set the team up to engage the pod on the left. This really wasn't the brightest idea in hindsight. I should have gone after the ones just down the ramp, not the ones off to the side. If during the next fight this patrol had wandered into Shark and Sheltered it could have made things very very awkward. As it is, it is early enough in the game that this does not have any great affect on the outcome of the mission.

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Oh shit, a new enemy. I actually wasn't expecting one of these to be present on the roster yet. Either they're able to appear as an auxiliary or the aliens have more research than I thought. I don't think my count was off since enemy Leaders started appearing exactly on schedule, so there must be something special here that I am missing about how alien pods can generate. These guys aren't supposed to be showing up for another week but I'm not terribly worried about it.

Meet the Seeker. These enemies were added in the Enemy Within expansion as a counter to people placing their snipers in the middle of bum fuck nowhere to flank engagements for free. Seekers are the only enemy in the game who have the ability to go invisible and also disable troops with a strangle ability. They'll generally pursue 1 of 2 courses of action. Either they'll go invisible and look for someone to strangle or they'll go invisible and go on overwatch. Their stealth can be broken by throwing a Battlescanner, an item I have yet to use. I am not at all threatened by these things.

Despite being a mechanical enemy and having a flat 2 DR to accompany their 4 health, they do not have the Hardened perk that makes critting certain enemies so difficult (like drones). While their invisibility can be a dangerous way to lose track of where they are, they often just run straight up to someone. If a seeker stealths, tile check all of your troops to see if it is adjacent to them. You can very often find them this way and either place an assault with CCS next to them or have an overwatch specialist wait for them. Their base damage is also really low. Even lower than a drone's damage band. The only thing that makes them dangerous is if they manage to surprise you while fighting other enemies. Usually this happens when a seeker retreats and a new pod patrols into you. You lose track of the seeker and then it suddenly reappears strangling someone important like your rocketeer or gunner. These strangulations can be broken just by shooting them. However, if you don't do enough damage to them you have to shoot them again.

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I open up with ShelteredFreak against the furthest thin man. They disappoint me by rolling a 5 reduced to 4, leaving the thin man alive. It is likely that had they brought a marksman rifle they would have enough height advantage to still make this shot. I'm not sure why sniper rifles have their damage clamped to the marksman's when the LMG gets a +2 damage ceiling over its SAW cousin but it infuriates me now.

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Behold the extent of the seeker's involvement in this fight. Smote by buckshot. Note this well for the future. With shotguns seekers will have 3 DR due to their 2 DR being augmented by the shotgun DR malus. The only reason this works reasonably well is that shotguns have an absurd 4-8 damage band and have a reasonably decent chance at critting them. Once assaults start getting stuff like the Aggression perk or other critical strike increasing items they'll be swatting these things from the sky with huge damage that their DR just cannot compensate for.

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Behold this fully operational weapons platform performing the bullshit that I had envisioned for it at the start of the mission. These thin men have no way of breaking this suppression and when they run it (because Vincent is now flanking them) he'll have a damn good chance at hitting them with his high ground bonus. For the remaining thin man I place Jett against the yellow SUV on overwatch to catch them while everyone else posts up to not be patrolled into by the remaining pod. Twelve also goes on overwatch here just in case. The plan works as I expected it to, though Twelve got first dibs on the one that Sheltered failed to kill in the back. Sharkbait also completely obliterates the thin man with their shot and secures a promotion. With the board cleared again, I rotate everyone to collapse inward towards the pod I skirted around earlier. Shark and Sheltered will remain on top of the bus to get these guys in an L flank.

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...Aaand it's just drones. The L formation doesn't really do much to these guys since they can't take cover. One of them gets caught by an overwatch from Sharkbait and is obliterated, another lands, and the last is close enough that Jett and Vincent can clean it up despite its flight. I feed one drone to Sheltered because I pity them being out of play for the next month. Jett claims the other for themself and the mission ends with no additional fanfare.

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Promotions for Sharkbait and Bauer!

For Sharkbait's LCPL promotion I grant them Holo-Targeting.
For Bauer's LCPL promotion I grant them Ranger.

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2 Sectoid corpses
2 Thin Man corpses
5 Drone Wrecks
8 Elerium
...And some miscellaneous shit that my dumbass skipped over in the recording instead of scrolling down.

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With 100 bucks in the bank from that mission, I decide to pick up Tactical Officers, allowing me to promote some of the more experienced troops into Lieutenants. This grants them a suite of new perks. The officer system replaces the medal system that was added in X:EW.

First, innate to all officers, is the perk Lead by Example. If an ally within 8 tiles of them has less will than the officer does, they substitute their will score for the lower's own will. This makes it easier to control people who have received injuries or rookies on missions as long as they are stood nearby the officer.

They also gain a perk called Command. This ability allows them to select someone who has already gone through their turn and give them 1 action point. There are a lot of caveats to this ability, specifically in the name of units who are currently taking a withheld action like hunkering or overwatching, but it is super powerful in its own right. It has a 4 turn cooldown and ends the turn of the caster when used. This ability starts with 1 charge, but for each additional Officer promotion, they gain another for a maximum of 5. Keep in mind, officer promotions differ from the regular promotions that have been seen so far. Also, in campaigns before, Training Roulette Plus bugged this ability and made it so it became a free action. When I experimented on another later save the bug appeared to have fixed itself. I don't know how this happened or why but it is good that I know this now before I needed it.

But that's not all. At Lieutenant officers get to choose between 1 of 2 permanent upgrades. These upgrades can be chosen independently from other officers, so this isn't locking in a choice for all future ones.
First is Legio Patria Nostra. This increases the will of all members on the squad by 1 for each unique nationality present on the team.
The other is Stay Frosty. This reduces fatigue timers of all members of the squad by 24 hours.

I'll be wanting officers with both of these abilities but Stay Frosty is the one I am going to want for now. Legio Patria Nostra is better on some of the more "main event" type missions where every point in every category matters more. I don't want to spoil what those are because they're really fucking cool missions (but very fucking loooong missions).

While I don't have 3 people in the classes I want eligible to be made officers, JohnBlazed is a day from being back on the force so I pin a bar on him for the fuck of it and give them Stay Frosty. This could be argued to be a mismanagement of money but this money is going to get spent anyway and its only $100. Officers are going to be very important going forward and they get so many more powerful perks later on. The only way to get those promotions is for them to participate on missions as the officer in charge.

The rest of the day passes by uneventfully.
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stairmaster
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by stairmaster » #727241

any of y'all fuck with terra invicta
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #727263

stairmaster wrote: Sat Apr 20, 2024 9:54 pm any of y'all fuck with terra invicta
I wanted to like it when I first heard it was announced but as more information came out it sounded too large in scope to be something that would interest me. Less small squad tactics and more 4X strategy.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #727373

April 18th~23nd Recap

Not much happens in these few days. The new soldiers arrive to the barracks welcoming PFCs Ability and Caxi to the XCOM roster.

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With the Experimental Warfare research complete XCOM unlocks two items for the SHIV, a not yet produced remote control mini-tank. It's basically a machine gun on treads but I don't use them. While they are very powerful, they do not gain experience and they actively take away from other soldiers who would gain experience in the slot the SHIV would take. They work very well as a stopgap for a fatigue spiral and some people will swear by them, but I am not one of them.

The Smartshell Pod confers the Flush perk to SHIVs equipped with the module.
The Adaptive Tracking Pod confers the Advanced Fire Control perk to SHIVs equipped with the module. This perk is exclusive to MEC troopers and removes the aim penalty from overwatch shots, but does not allow them to crit. It is functionally a lesser Opportunist.

But there's a few problems with this that I wasn't thinking of when I made my decisions two weeks ago. I don't actually have the money to do anything now that this research is completed beyond now having the door open to research Gauss Weapons. Gauss itself will take 43 days to complete with my current count of scientists. This number will no doubt lower over time as more council requests come in offering scientists, but I would have to put off many quicker researches in order to take Gauss. Things like UFO analyses and autopsies provide their own benefits while also allowing me to progress in other less expensive and time demanding ways. Even with the door open to Gauss, were I to complete it; I do not currently possess enough alien alloys or money to be able to manufacture them in any great number. Some of the heavier weapons (like the Gauss Long Rifle or LMG) will cost way more than just trying to put out a rifle or carbine, leaving some of my troops further in the dust. And those upgrades that I was counting on for after this? Those require me to build a Foundry to even be able to begin buying those upgrades, which costs even more money and alien materials.

So where does that leave me right now?

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Meet the lovely Dr. Vahlen, XCOM's Chief Science Officer. This woman's ambitions will by no means be problematic in any future XCOM installments. Pictured next to her is all of the researches that XCOM can currently pursue. I'll briefly go over the broad strokes of what these accomplish and how I could use them, with some random musings. A sort of thinking out loud type deal. Sadly the UFOpaedia at this time is basically impossible to reach for some reason, so I'm going to have to do some off the memory spitballing.

Xenoneurology. Despite being labeled as a priority, it is not actually one. This is a research that progresses the overarching narrative of the game but it has a lot of interesting implications. This research unlocks the Alien Containment building and a couple stun weapons. From a financial and materials perspective, the cost is actually kind of low. Alien captives at this stage in the game can be kind of difficult to get since they have to have very low health in order to even have a chance at stunning them, but every alien captured is a free plasma weapon for much later. I won't be able to use these weapons until I research Plasma Weapons, but I won't have to manufacture many of them myself. Moreover, the captured aliens can be interrogated in their own researches to get new psionic abilities, genetics upgrades, and research credits which will reduce entire swathes of research progress times. And any alien captured after completing an interrogating can be used in council requests for leveled troops.

UFO Analyses. These projects do nothing interesting but have the benefit of being pretty damn fast to complete at just anywhere between 4~6 days. They allow me to recover 20% more alloys from these UFOs (landed or shotdown) and gives Interceptors a bonus 10% damage against them. I'm pretty sure these also allow me to see the HP of the UFO, but I can't recall. I don't particularly care for the Scout or Fighter analyses since I'll be already pulling so little from those sites anyway, but the Raiders could benefit from the bonus alloys. They're also the highest HP UFOs that I will be (reasonably) encountering for a while. The bonus damage will come in handy, though hopefully it won't result in more outright destructions. There is no buy-in for these researches, costing only a brief amount of time to benefit from.

Beam Lasers. I've gone over these before, but I'll briefly reiterate. I plan on skipping lasers for a while in order to shoot straight up to Gauss Weapons. I can only get so much cash and especially alloys. I can survive a long time without upgraded weapons in order to build a reserve of alien alloys for the construction of gauss weapons. Some upgrades will make this intermediary period easier to navigate and also still be used with those later upgraded weapons.

Improved Body Armor. This research allows the construction of the Phalanx Armor which provides +[health] and [mobility]. Like laser weapons, I want to skip these for the same reasons. Cash and alloys come at a premium. I can skip this tech to wait for Advanced Body Armor to unlock the heavy 2nd tier armor. While I do have to research it in order to unlock that later armor, I will be skipping any manufacturing.

Xenogenetics. This puts me on the path for MECs and genetic modifications. MECs and genetics do a lot that I won't explain here, but these are force multiplying upgrades. I don't have a lot of the stuff in order to fully utilize genetic modifications and I don't have the materials in order to get MECs running up as soon as I try to aim for.

Alien Computers. This would unlock the Satellite Nexus for construction, which gives more satellite capacity than an Uplink does. With a later research this would also allow me to begin making MEC troopers, cash and materials providing. A project for later.

Advanced Aerospace Concepts. This would unlock a sleuth of Interceptor upgrades that I can't afford right now.

Elerium. This puts me on the path to plasma weaponry and alien power sources. Another much later project.

Gauss Weapons. I've gone over Gauss before. They have more ammo, an inbuilt DR reduction stat, and many upgrades that work with the T1 ballistic weapons will also work with these.

Autopsies. Low initial cost researches that will unlock more projects with a relatively fast completion time. Completing these will also allow me to trade corpses for council requests. Sectoids are the exception to this, as completing Xenobiology earlier already allowed for this. For instance, completing the Thin Man Autopsy gives me a foundry project that will increase the base healing from medkits by 3, for a total of 6 healed, and the ability to get Council Requests for Thin Man corpses.

With all of that in mind I set Vahlen to do the Raider UFO Analysis. Afterwards, I may just go straight into Xenoneurology and rush captures. I'm not sure yet. I'll have to see how things pan out.

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FUCK. This is the 2nd Scout that's been outright destroyed in a row. The first time, unfortunate. This time, fuck you Russian airspace. The UFO flew from the far west border of Russia all the way to the east before the Interceptor finally caught them. This Interceptor was equipped with Avalanche missiles to hopefully get a lucky hit in to send a Stingray to finish it. Instead, with all of my interception time consumed by chasing the fucking thing across the entirety of Russian airspace, I have to let LT "Spitfire" Shankar go for the shootdown. They outright destroy UFO-010, denying the boots a mission. The only silver lining is that if I had sent a Stingray they may have not even shot it down in the end.

Now, that would be a pretty boring end to the 23rd but....

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The first alien terror attack happens in April, and it is now that time. Failing to respond to an alien terror attack will cause the effected country to immediately leave the council. I must respond to these missions. They are almost universally a bad thing, the only reward being any corpses and materials gained from kills. Panic will increase no matter what I do here. I want some strong people on these missions running the best they can wear.

But what's this I see?

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Yeahhh I'm gonna do it. The aliens can have their way with the local Mexico City population for the next 12 hours while I finish the SCOPE and Alloy Plating. There is absolutely no consequence to doing this, so take advantage of it if you can. However, all of that fast forwarding has sent the holo-globe clock over to the 24th. While I did immediately play this mission, I am going to make you wait for the update because I can and so I can try to get this thread to the 2nd page and improve load times temporarily.

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For now, to those who did not watch the linked video, I will leave this on a dramatic still frame of the next meanest addition to the alien's roster of toys. I'll also go into more detail about the terror mission and the unique challenges that these present tomorrow. You'll hear from me again on the 24th, so until then, have a wonderful day. :)
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #727430

April 24th

Operation Rotting Sleep
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Operation Falling Giant
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AwkwardStereo
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #727574

April 26th

With the end of the month approaching, and my satellites having finished just a few days before, I decide to finally launch them over the United Kingdom and over Germany. I'll be getting a little less money than if I had placed the UK's satellite over France, but the UK has a bonus that I am interested in. The Cadre bonus conferred by the UK reduces the promotion requirement for Officer Training School upgrades by 15%. Squad Size 2 will only require 97 promotions to get instead of 115. Only 31 promotions remain until this requirement is met, though I am not certain I will be able to secure it before May ends. It'd be a great deal of work and I'd have to rush promote a 2nd Medic to Corporal to get a 2nd Stay Frosty Lieutenant. Not optimistic on meeting that benchmark, but I can certainly try.

The Germany bonus is not as important as the funding it gives me. With NeoPanzers, MEC and SHIV primary weapons have a 15% reduction in cash, alloy, and elerium costs.

I also decide to start a Marksman Scope with the remaining money I have. This item will give my Scouts the Squadsight perk, giving them the same range as a Sniper would when using marksman rifles. I have some ideas on using a couple Scouts in ways I haven't before.

► Show Spoiler

Fuck me. I am not certain whether this was a guaranteed Hunt deployment or a 50/50, but it can easily be said that this fucking sucks. While I was blessed with this UFO to be flying west to east, all of my interceptions on this thing fucking sucked. Despite having like an ~80% chance to hit all 4 of my interceptors miss their first 3 shots against this UFO and sustain critical damage. The 4th interception manages to put it in a failure state, so at least my satellite won't get shot down.

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There goes my air force for the next three weeks. I HATE THE AIR GAME. I HATE THE AIR GAME. I need a satellite relay and a satellite next week and there's not going to be much cash in the budget for another plane unless I cancel my Foundry or dip deep into the coffers of XCOM's corpse and materials catalogue to hock at Grey Market buyers. I need money. AND I NEED IT NOW.

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Hello there, deus ex machina. A nap of the earth altitude Scout and the first landed UFO! This is a research or a harvesting mission, but there's no way to know which. The result is the same either way. This landing will give XCOM a decent boon of materials and UFO components, with a defending crew compliment that will be only slightly stronger than if it were a shoot down. There's a ~10% chance that this is a trap and things will be far more difficult than normal, but I think I can handle it even if it is. It'd basically have twice as many enemies and possibly some chryssalids.

I'll probably be selling everything that this UFO gives me. I'd love to keep the alien computers and the power source, but I need money.

However, that is a mission for tomorrow. By the time the UFO landed the hologlobe has clocked over to the 27th! I'll have some thinking to do on the team composition. Most unfortunate is that Johnblazed's fatigue timer won't be done by the time the UFO takes off in 15 hours, so no officer on deck for this mission unless I promote someone less suited. I'll have to work on aggressively promoting my medics by taking them on missions.
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Re: Playing Long War 1 Day at a Time

Post by AwkwardStereo » #727685

April 27th
Operation Banished Savior

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Here's the list of important people who are fatigued. With 15 hours on the mission timer for the UFO I can get Aurikel, Diaspora, Personator, and Sharkbait if I need or want them. It may even be possible to get SniperKiller but that's cutting the margins way too thin. Sadly, as I mentioned in the last update, I can't get Johnblazed in on the action. I could promote another Corporal to Lieutenant to have an officer on the mission it but I've ultimately decided to be patient and level my Medics.

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Meet the team for this mission, with some brief fast forwarding to get people off their fatigue timers.

LCPL Gunner ThirdCaliber, bringing an LMG with a ceramic and medkit.
LCPL Infantry Personator, bringing a motion detector and an alloy plate.
SPEC Medic DryRain bringing a 2nd medkit and a smoke.
CPL Sniper Aurikel with the full size sniper carrying the SCOPE and the 2nd smoke.
CPL Scout Diaspora with a 2nd alloy plate and the 2nd motion detector.
LCPL Gunner Neutral with the SAW, 3rd medkit, and another plate.
LCPL Rocketeer Bauer with a 2nd HE warhead and a LAM.

Some quick notes on this team comp.

I'm bringing the full size Squadsight weapons with Third and Aurikel in the hopes that I can have them hang back behind the team and leave more full cover positions for the rest of the squad at the front. Aurikel will be able to plink at enemies anywhere she has an unobstructed line of fire and Third will ideally be able to suppress aliens from half cover just out of their line of sight. At worst, Third won't be able to scoot and shoot like Neutral but will have more ammo and more damage for the times they do shoot. I shouldn't have any problems getting Auri to enforce the No Fly Zone.

No Assault on this mission because if I fuck something up here I'll go into May with a hole in my foot. I'm terribly cognizant of the chance that this UFO could be trapped, so I am taking a more static team to just buckle down and slayy ayy.

Also an Engineer could have been useful here but none of the Sappers were available for this mission.

► Show Spoiler

This actually isn't a terrible map for my team's composition. Welcome to Small Scout River Valley; an unimaginative but very apt name.

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True to its name, this is a river valley. The riverbed itself is a pit where hopes and dreams go to die. There is no full cover in the river bed itself anywhere. It's a great place to catch enemies at since their cover will suck balls, but if you get caught crossing it you had best pray you can pull back without attracting too much return fire. The hill that the UFO is nestled against (marked Awkward) isn't a terrible place to fight from with a small pocket of height advantage, though there is janky LOS abound with enemies fighting from the UFO. Honestly, fighting from any advantageous position on this map is almost an "I win" situation. Having to fight from anywhere in the middle of the map is a suicidal slock. Sometimes you'll have to fight inside the forested hill or flank area and that can be a bit awkward, but with a prepared rocket or a sapper engineer it isn't too bad.

I want to cross the riverbed to get to the hill so I can get height advantage on my Sniper and hopefully with ThirdCal. Staying on this side of the river doesn't appeal to me since the area that I can actually take cover in is so extremely narrow. The tree density could fuck with LOS for the people who can't get at the front of the line and it leaves me exposed badly to flankers from the riverbed. Across the river I don't expect this to be as much of an issue.

While inching across the river I hear a new, all too familiar to me, foe. I actually stopped and rushed to the wiki to check if there had been a mistake and that this was in fact a trapped UFO. These guys are exactly on schedule, unlike the early bird seeker I encountered. This caste is the first true front-liner that the aliens can field. I was actually very close to just retreating 1 turn after stepping foot on the mission, but seeing that this could easily just be a regular landed kept me going. Fortunately, UFOpaedia has finally come back to me otherwise I would have waited an hour just trying to get to the page I needed.

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Starting the push with Diaspora's motion tracker reveals a problem. The side of the river I am crossing to has a pod of enemies blocking me from both the hill and being able to safely set up on the other side. Worse yet, the new enemy is present in some capacity. I do not want to get into a half cocked fight with these guys while fighting from half cover, even with my smoke grenades.

I begin creeping up so slowly you wouldn't even believe it. Getting ThirdCal and Bauer especially into positions where they are able to effectively engage the enemy if things go hot. Aurikel remains in spawn since they have infinite range while the rest of the squad wades through the ankle deep stream. I reject any notion of saving the Meld this mission with how slowly I maneuvered the squad prior to this engagement. This pod is also blursed. Blessed in the fact that it is stationary, but cursed because it won't push out to meet me in the river. Were it to patrol into me I am reasonably confident I could alpha strike them and if not kill them all suppress the ones who survive.


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I decide to get sneaky here. I'm not certain how far I can push this, but I am able to creep my guys up against the edge of the map to the other side of the river. I leave ThirdCal and Bauer in the river bed to act as a flanking element and an emergency "oh shit" switch for if I pull them early. Bauer especially is critical in this. I'm advancing in such a way that if I need to I can still get some people into cover to contest this fight without having to take a turn to cower. The idea here is if I pull early, Bauer smashes the cover of the most dangerous dudes, the non-gunners kill who is exposed while ThirdCal and Neutral suppress the survivors.

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The set up is ready. Everyone in the blob is able to take cover in some way. Personator is going to be the initiator with everyone else reacting to what the pod does. Getting to this point from spawn took about 10~15 minutes of careful maneuvering. Now to get things started.

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Meet the Muton. This is the first real soldier caste that the aliens can field. I usually don't see them until the start of May but they are able to spawn in the late days of April. Unlike 'lids or Outsiders, these guys are a brutish sort of dangerous. The run of the mill Muton will have 10HP, a deadly 76 accuracy to start with, and 10 in-built defense. Among their myriad starting abilities they have Suppression and are the first enemy that can throw grenades. The damage is not the worst part about the grenade. It's the high base damage to environment that they'll use to expose people and then have others follow up for killing blows. Their grenade throwing range can be mitigated by hitting them with flashbangs or suppressing them, but their high health makes it so if they run it they have good odds at surviving the shot and throwing anyway.

However, that's not all. Mutons have 2 other abilities that can make them a menace before their turn even starts. Bloodcall gives all nearby Mutons additional mobility, will, and aim for 3 turns with a 4 turn cooldown. The only upside to this ability is that it does not effect the caster so often 2 Mutons will waste their first actions using Bloodcall, giving a brief window to kill them before they start dishing out the pain. Then there's Intimidate. Anyone who shoots these guys has to make a will save or immediately panic. Only people with Steadfast are totally immune to this ability, though people with sufficiently high will can tank the check. I forget if they impose a check on people who grenade them, but either way this is a doozy of an ability. If you try to get a rookie to level against a Muton you'd better hope they land a killing blow, otherwise they're going to panic.

Now, looking at the close up image you might notice that that is a different gun in that Muton's hands. You're right. For the duration of May to the start of June Mutons appear with the light plasma carbine instead of the full plasma rifle. This rifle gives them reduced damage but increased accuracy. Once June starts, they'll deal more damage but have a little less accuracy. Wayward shots that connect during that period are going to hurt like hell and often be lethal.

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Yeah I ain't fucking around with this guy. Bauer sends a rocket straight into his forehead and blows them straight to kingdom fuck with a maxroll. Also, not included in the screenshot, this muton successfully rolled their 1 point of DR from cover but because Bauer had Ranger they still one shot them. If they'd had HEAT instead I would have had to spend an action finishing off the Muton. Now to deal with the rest.

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Sadly, Aurikel biffs their shot on the half cover sectoid. ThirdCal suppresses the floater and Neutral suppresses the other sectoid who promptly freaks the fuck out. The floater suppresses Bauer to prevent a flank while the unsuppressed sectoid goes into overwatch.

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Neutral suppresses this sectoid to apply holo-targeting for Auri to make a cross the river kill. Redemption for the miss earlier. Also, for reasons I do not understand, Auri decided to flex some godly power and prevent their turn from ending. This should not be possible given they are only a Corporal Sniper and do not have Double Tap. Too terrified to try and holo a 2nd target, for fear of ridding myself of this boon on accident, I decide to just take a 2nd shot at the floater which misses.

A minor flexing of Auri's power.

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Diaspora holos the floater, but fails to kill them due to DR. Personator catches them on the rebound while Neutral terrorizes the final sectoid with a suppression. The final sectoid puts up no further challenge as it is sent to ayy hell by Aurikel. With the board cleared I can finally start creeping up to the hill. There are yet more muton cries in the fog of war somewhere. It is my hope that it will be another mixed pod with a muton leading it, but there's no way to know until I encounter them.

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With Auri up on the highest high ground for miles around they'll be eating good. Sadly, I waited here a good few turns hoping to be able to take advantage of this position of ThirdCaliber's sake but such was for naught. The aliens' patrol patterns saw them never once stepping near, so I had to push up with everyone including Auri, though she still maintains a healthy height advantage over creatures in the river bed.

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My slow creep forward reveals a pod of 4 seekers! Fortunately, 2 of them have landed and will be easy picking. The flying one a bit more difficult, but Auri is here to enforce the No Fly Zone. The 4th seeker will just have to be ignored. I expect it will go after Auri, who is isolated behind the squad. I'm not terribly worried about this since I pushed them closer so the squad is in range to adjust and assist them if they get tentacled.

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The No Fly Zone is enforced, with ThirdCal and Personator cleaning up the other seekers. The last one will just have to wait. Bauer steadies their rocket and I wait for the Seeker to do that thing where it hovers next to someone and I pretend I can't see it blocking a tile.

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Egads. A muton patrol. Fortunately, Neutral and ThirdCal manage to shwack one before they can even get into cover, so it's just a 20HP blob to kill instead of 30.

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Oh shit. That's not great. Bauer's right hand step out is blocked by either ThirdCal or the knee high embankment. I can't move ThirdCaliber because he won't be able to suppress. I suppress with Neurtal, apply holo on the other with Diaspora, then suppress that muton with ThirdCaliber. If they decide to run I still want to have decent odds at hitting them. The aliens on their turn take 2 ineffective shots against ThirdCaliber.

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