I’ve finished the Blacksite missions and the Codex brain missions, currently researching the final 2 steps. These missions are designed to be done with regular weapons – maybe mags, if you play them when they show up. I waited. I tried to make it a bit harder with captains and sergeants, but that wasn’t enough to offset a full upgraded sniper rifle, with 4 extra ammo, 4 free reloads, bluescreen ammo and 20% chance to hit. The sniper kills everything in 1 hit. Killzone (overwatch shot on anything that moves) + 7 ammo + squadsight = clear a map.
I managed to take out the Warlock as well. The first floor was oddly linear and my Ranger never broke stealth. The 2nd floor, I think things just ended up perfect.
Two advent soldiers down in a turn. I know where the trigger line is with the chosen (2 tiles past half), so I set up the team for an ambush. He had the most hit points of all the Chosen but still went down in a single round thanks to a chain shot sniper. That gave the rest of the team free shots on the sarcophagus. End of round had a Codex and Advent soldier show up. A serial sniper (keep shooting after kills) took care of those 2 and the rest of the team took down the sarcophagus. Warlock came back at 40% health, went down in 1 melee strike.
I think now I’m just going to assume the game is complete and go through the motions. Even with really bad RNG, the damage taken is maybe 3-4 days of recovery. They are tired for longer. The power scales have tipped a tad too much in my favor – and I think the root cause is amazing luck on breakthroughs. I started off early with extra weapon damage, then extra mods. I do understand that RNG has benefits and drawbacks, but I think there’s a missed opportunity here for some added failure that is not time based.
A few items that could have worked better:
- a separate tired system, with a method to accelerate returns. Right now, it’s just a number you have to wait out. The templar base should address this.
- a more pronounced negative trait system that goes beyond panic. Lower aim%, lower mobility, failed reload, missed grenades… that sort of stuff.
- Breakthroughs that are weighted against previous breakthroughs and have a cost other than time
- A reason to use a specialist beyond healing
- More mobility for enemy units so that they can close the gap, or pull you out of cover
- A way for a soldier to “tank up” and draw fire. The AI uses proximity to determine threat
- Better use of enemy threats. Every month they choose 3 to look at, and you can counter 1 through a guerrilla mission. I never found them to be threatening.
- More use of the Lost. They are certainly a challenge at low gear levels. Sending 3-4 swarms to a high ranked mission is a great twist. I had it happen a couple times… very entertaining
I think the next update on XCOM2 will be when I clear the final mission.