More Pew Pew
I was able to finish up research on all the plasma weapons, though it took a bit to get the supplies (cash) to build them. I’ll take the sniper rifle as an example. The first gun was a 4-6 damage weapon, the Plasma is 6-10. Combined with a particular set of perks, the largest normal hit I’ve had was 17, which is enough to take out nearly every enemy in a single shot. So where my group of rookies would have had issues taking out 3 enemies, I can now take on 6 without too much worry. Heck, I cleared a recent map in 4 turns, 1 of which was spent actually finding the enemy. It’s a massive change in strategy.
Well, more specifically the Ranger. I have one that’s set up to be a melee fighter who seems to be all but unkillable. She has great mobility, awesome damage potential, and one particular skill that makes her immune to damage if she lands a killing blow for 1 attack. That last item means she can chain kill an entire group, solo.
The downside is that I didn’t know what skills were in the class while levelling. I opted for a team-based approach, where she would be slightly ahead of the team, acting as a scout. There’s nothing wrong with that playstyle mind you, as it allows me to be pretty aggressive.
That said, I’m going to train another one and focus on the shadow line of skills. The majority of missions are time-based and being able to move in the shadows to complete objectives would be a massive boost to productivity. I’ll try a single one out and if that work, I think I’ll train 2-3 more to make a B squad. With smart stealth movement, I should be able to complete the VIP missions, and X4 missions in a couple turns. The abduction and relay missions would be ambush bonanzas.
The Avatar project is at 9/12 now. I had been blocked from progress due to the lack of comm relays, and I was blocked on that due to lack of power, and I was blocked on that with a lack of rooms to build in. I had seen the limitation early enough but it’s 10 days to dig out the room, and another 10-15 to build what I need, with all engineers on hand. That took a while. Now I’m at 11 relays available, enough to start exploring more missions to bring that Avatar project score down.
And I think that’s one of the quirks of XCOM, in that it has a lot of stretches of preparation and then major plateaus of progress. Going from regular weapons to Gauss weapons was weeks of research but made a massive difference in my ability to take down Advent forces. Plasma weapons took even longer and that has allowed me to safely run through 2/3rd of the enemies. I still don’t have a Psionic combatant ready for battle as he’s still training. I’d be curious to see him in action, given the planned skillset I want for him (and past experience in XCOM1).
And the progress itself is limited. I only have so many researchers and engineers to do work. I only have so many supplies and intel to trade, only so many cores, crystals and alloys to build with. Even with a ton of stuff unlocked, I can’t build it all, I don’t have the resources. The good news is that I don’t feel punished with that limit. Each decision is simply a step to the next plateau and there are very few decisions that I would call “bad” or wasteful. Sure, you can have bad timing like I did with the comms relays, but a bad call in the long-game is quite hard to do. And that’s a rare achievement for a game today.