The Let's Play Archive

X-Com: Enemy Within

by Jade Star

Part 2: Operation Rotting Shroud

Operation Rotting Shroud

Now with the first mission out of the way I can rename my soldiers and pick the four I want to take on the mission. Two of the previous soldiers were quite nice and get renamed and I bring up two promising looking rookies from the roster to be renamed in honor of our sign ups. Our first four soldiers of the war are:

Nitten Stomperud
Rookie 39 Will 80 Aim

Ricky Gunderson
Squaddie Sniper 51 Will 83 Aim

Tony White
Squaddie Support 61 Will 85 Aim

Catalina Sprahl
Rookie 35 Will 75 Aim

Congratulations on making the cut to join X-Com, soldiers. Already most of you should see why I like Hidden Potential and Not Created Equally. The second mission of the game and my worst soldier I'm taking into the field has 75 Aim. That is pretty incredible. This is a great batch of starting soldiers and I even have a few more 70+ Aim rookies in the barracks. If I can keep them alive their natural talents will make things in the future much easier on me.

Following the first intro mission there isn't much you can do at the base. At this point the game locks you out of the Situation Room until your first abduction mission. So there is little more to do than scan for alien activity on the globe until that happens. For us, it happens on March 4.

We are offered three choices of where to go, Egypt, Argentina, or China. We can only respond to one of these missions at a time and the other two will be left unattended. Each mission offers a different reward, the rewards being 200 X-Com bitcoins, 4 engineers, 4 scientists, or a new recruit for your barracks of a predetermined rank and class. Abduction missions are also the primary cause of Panic management. Panic will go down in the country we take the mission in, but it will rise the other two countries significantly. Not only will panic rise in the countries that you don't go to, but every country in the same continent as those two ignored countries will rise slightly. This can lead to a lot of juggling and management to prevent countries from panicking and leaving the X-Com project. Often times choosing which abduction mission to go to isn't about the reward they offer, it's about managing the panic levels. If done right you should never have to worry about having a country withdraw from X-Com.

This is the first abduction mission in the game, and panic levels are all at their lowest levels. This is one of the few times I will be able to choose which mission I want based on reward versus based on panic management. Given the choice between 200 X-Com bitcoins, 4 engineers, or 4 scientists, I pick the engineers. The full reasoning of this will be typed out later, and is covered in the video as well.


Topics discussed in this video:

Aggressive and Defensive Strategies

Guava and I have very differing mindsets about the nature of our tactics. Guava explains his hyper aggressive strategy essentially as the best way to stay safe is to kill the aliens as quickly as possible. My mindset is that the best way to stay safe is to ensure the aliens have zero, or as near to zero, ways of harming your soldiers. While my way may including killing the aliens as a defensive measure, it also means I am happy with a situation where I do not kill everything I see the turn I see it so long as I make sure none of the aliens can harm me. They don't need to be dead, they just need to be ineffective at hurting me.

I'm glad Guava is alongside me to offer his perspective because neither strategy is wrong so long as they are executed well and I'm glad my audience will hear a more aggressive point of view during the course of the LP. Very quickly into the video we see my more defensive mindset playing in as I hunker back and make half moves forward and do not take the risk of going for the first Meld can. I think I made the right choice in the end. I could have potentially triggered a second group of sectoids and left Tony White flanked from either pair of aliens. All for a lousy 10 Meld. Over all I didn't think risking a 85 Aim squaddie was worth the 10 Meld.

Ever player will have their own judgements to make on risk versus reward. Every player will have a different stand on aggressive versus defensive tactics. I won't say either is better, because if it gets the job done and no one dies, then it works. However my play style that will be seen in the LP will be very defensive. Just keep that in mind and if you have a more aggressive lean to things you will have to adapt your own preferences to anything you might learn in this LP.

The Overwatch Trick

Guava spells this one out in the video. The trick is to get your sniper to overwatch using their sniper rifle. This normally requires snapshot. Snapshot is a terrible skill. Don't ever pick it. To get a sniper to overwatch with their rifle is easy. First select their pistol. Then command them to overwatch. You then have about a half second to click on the lower right part of the UI where the weapon switch icons are. Just click on the picture of the rifle. Your sniper will go on overwatch and then swap weapons. This can be done with out the time sensitivity of the previous method as well. Switch to a pistol, and overwatch. Make sure your sniper isn't the last person to move on your turn so your turn doesn't end there. Switch back to your sniper who is now on overwatch and holding a pistol. Click or press the change weapon key. Your sniper will swap weapons and the game will immediately shift focus off your sniper and to the next solder with actions still remaining.

This bug/feature has been in the game since the first release. It is not new, and it has been known for a very long time and yet remains in the game. If Jake Solomon hasn't fixed this problem in all this time, I say it is now a feature.