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Author Topic: Is there really any point in equipping armor?  (Read 16067 times)

Offline theDoom

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Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« on: December 07, 2013, 08:08:27 am »
My thought process is this: a weapon, IR googles, a couple of grenades and an ammo clip or two are enough to get the +12 TU. Plasma Rifles 2 shot soldiers, plasma pistols 3 shot them. Starting armor is not good enough to add another shot needed to kill with plasma rifle, and can only add an extra pistol shot for some soldiers. Is there really any situation where the 12 TU are worth less than the slight defense granted by the armor?

On snipers, no armor is a game-changer. Two aimed shots instead of one is a huge deal. Considering the low chances of them getting hit by anything, its almost a no-brainer to not give them any armor. But even assaults and close combat guys... with 12 TU more, I can do so much more, like use flashbangs more often, take an extra three-round burst with rifles, an extra IR goggle use, get further away from an alien's line of fire. The extra 12 TU allows you to vastly reduce the amount of times you will be hit, while armor really only helps decrease the amount of time your soldiers need to spend time in the hospital.

Offline Wolls

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 11:58:40 am »
*To pre-face.. I have not played since the re-balancing of stat growth.

The obvious reason of why you would equip more weight and lose the +12 TU, is simply to grow that soldiers Strength stat.

With the armor, it depends on what weapons you are up against and whether it would allow you to take a direct hit and live or not [ which by the way is exactly the same way aircraft armour works..although aircraft's currently suffer no penalty for damage]

It is a big deal because there are more benefits to living than out right dying UNLESS its a throwaway unit.. but honestly many of the more powerful weapon versions are also heavier, so going light may* result in end-game units that can only equip early to mid game tech.. or at least it was that way.

The bonus +12 TU also means a much reduced strength stat growth of which the full effects* may only be truly felt late game.

I guess the real value of armor may be determined on your light units.. after you have the bonus TU .. and the extra TU is THE only reason you would do so.. and you had the strength for it.. would you rather have armour Or an extra ammo clip??? Or an extra grenade??? Or a back-up weapon??

Also there is a limit on how much action a unit will see, so having 4 extra clips or 2 frag nades.. unused.. verses basic combat armour which is useful with any taken damage.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 12:03:56 pm by Wolls »

Offline Wolls

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 12:51:33 pm »
One of my fav units.. equipped with the Monomolecular Knife (0.3 kg) and Combat Armour (7.0 kg).  This requires a Strength of 37 or higher.  In order to stay within the light class every strength beyond 37 is equal to 0.2 kg.

So at Str38 and Str39, I can equip a flashbang (0.2 kg) in the off-hand and respectively, one in the belt.   The Monomolecular Knife is an incredibly effective weapon, which you get reasonably early and with high damage values that will continue to be effective for the entirety of the early game, and into the mid game.

As a light, the min TU is 42.  Giving you a max range of 21, leaving you:

For 2 Stab: 34TU remaining, Ensuring you a 100% Killing Range of 17 -OH: 14 OR: 13
For 3 Stab: 30TU remaining, Ensuring you a 100% Killing Range of 15 -OH: 12 OR: 11
For 4 Stab: 26TU remaining, Ensuring you a 100% Killing Range of 13 -OH: 10 OR: 9

Smaller Numbers are KR's including use -OH: Off-hand flashbang OR: Off-hand Reserve flashbang ( from belt&holster)
* One Stab takes 4 TU


My experiences with this are that its difficult to implement this unit into the group, as single scouts they are effective at spotting the enemy contacts, but with a tendacy to seperate/isolate themselves.

I've had better results using 2, but due to the increased mobility still get caught in situations with out backup.  So I'm trying to use them together as a sort of self-contained scouting unit.

My best results were using this unit exclusively, took three on a base defense vs 7 aliens: light armoured taman/shevaar with plasma blasters/rifle and a few hovernets, one of which scored the only hit against me.  I won in six turns but I'm seriously hoping to find a better way to usefully intregrate within a larger group.

Offline Telok

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 06:51:39 am »
I've got some stuff on the boards where I talk about playing all the way through on Hard mode. Armor matters.

It's not so much the extra hit that matters but the reduction in damage taken for each hit. Nano armor is the difference between a 70 damage hit that leaves a 8 bleeding wound and a 50 damage hit that leaves a 4 beeding wound. In the late game power armor is the difference between 120 damage with 11 bleeding and 90 damage with 6 bleeding. While these heaping mountains of pain and suffering will totally flatten a noob soldier it's not them you're concerned about. The soldier you care about is your 140 health Colonel with 100% accuracy and weapon skills.

It's the difference between using one health kit on someone and using three of them. Between someone bleeding out in six rounds or in three. Between having that wounded soldier back in the dropship in five days or three weeks.

And man, the first time a soldier gets a needler blast in the chest... His armor is what separates the lightly wounded warrior from the bloody swiss cheese corpse.

Offline nanomage

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 05:53:45 pm »
Last time I checked, armor was utterly useless and I was better off with +12TUs instead of it in 9 cases out of 10. I'll try a walkthrough to check if that's changed though, after having read your post Telok!

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 08:09:57 pm »
I am with Telok on this one. A couple of rounds of plasma fire/particle fire will kill a solier in any armour. But here is the killer - with no armour, one round would probably kill them, but in armour it probably wont - far more relevant with your veterans, who will probably be the only ones strong enough to wear it and carry a weapon into combat anyway.

Offline theDoom

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 08:25:23 am »
So wait, I'm supposed to intentionally handicap myself in the beginning to be able to use anything good in the later stages? At the current moment, I have just started a new game, and only regular armor is available. Plasma Rifle (the weapon I find myself hit with the most, though thankfully not often due to my decent tactics and patience) will two-shot me, no matter if I'm wearing it or not.

Why can't I just instruct my troops to work out in the gym more? Why do I need to carry extra pounds, when going in light is, at least early game, SIGNIFICANTLY more viable. The choice I should be faced with is "low chance of taking 70 damage from PR, or way higher of taking 60 damage", not "let my soldiers be effective now, or let my soldiers be effective later".

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 07:44:06 pm »
IMHO the wearing of armour hardly renders them useles/ineffectives early game - in the early game when facing mainly plasma armed Sheevar and Taman you should not really need every trooper to have an extra shot to succeed in missions. I occasionally drop the armour on a low skill rookie and use them as a scout, but they often die to single plasma hits that an armoured trooper will survive, normally long enough to get medical aid and make it back to base.

Offline Soandso

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2013, 09:51:45 pm »
Armor is good for soldiers that you use to camp corners/doors and experienced snipers.  The sweeper team needs to be quick and hard hitting to have a better chance at catching aliens facing the wrong way and put the tough ones down in one round.

Offline Telok

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2013, 12:19:27 am »
One other thing that you should be aware of is the target priority of the aliens.

When the enemy has a choice of targets the AI decides which target to shoot at based on the probability of killing the target. Soldiers who are more likely to die from being hit are more likely to be shot at. This includes not only the soldier health totals and the % chance to hit, but also the effect of armor on damage done. This hit me pretty hard in my game because I was consistently replacing the newest guy on the squad. All the aliens shot at him, sometimes even ignoring soldiers who were closer and wounded.

And I did run unarmored soldiers too, they were the base defense teams for my production bases. Those guys were being one-shot by near misses from plasma blasters and hits from particle beam rifles, any needler fire was pretty much a guaranteed kill. Some of them were even one-shot by plasma rifles. By contrast someone in nano armor could normally survive a hit from a particle beam rifle and would easily come through needler fire at anything except point-blank range. At the high end the power armor guys could survive up to three particle beam rifle hits and almost always survived a single particle cannon hit.

Now I'm not saying that the starting combat armor is great, it's not. That armor is a bullet-proof vest trying to deal with hot plasma death rays, it just can't deal with that very well. But it is still the difference between surviving two plasma pistol shots with 25% of your health and those two shots taking you down to 10% that bleeds out at the start of your turn. And once you get nano armor there's no turning back, the edge it gives you is worth more to your veteran soldiers than the extra shot or three squares of movement.

Try playing a few missions in the places where you start in an exposed position. The beach side resort or the military base where you have aliens unloading full auto plasma rifles or needlers at your whole team. One or two hits starts to matter when everyone takes some hits.

Offline Eegxeta

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2013, 02:07:52 am »
In my experience my soldiers have always been better off with armor than without. I honestly think I over equip my soldiers a bit, but it has always paid off because I'm almost always equipped to deal with anything that gets thrown my way. It gets a little rough when plasma rifles first get fielded, but my guys always have the equipment to adapt. I came up with a standard loadout that has yet to fail me.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2013, 01:28:53 am »
I'm sticking my head in quickly to say that I love this thread. It's just the kind of interesting and sophisticated tactical discussion I hoped the 2.5 changes would inspire!

Offline Griever

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2013, 01:10:38 pm »
I tend to mix 'em up.
By endgame, I have 1-2 snipers and 1-2 assaults without armor.
The assault are my #1 scouts... Run, reveal, smoke and re-reveal and possibly even shoot at it.
2 Aimed shots for snipers is just godly. It is why they usually are my "topscorers".

The other guys are my bulk. Mostly assaults in the heaviest armor they can wear while still carrying a smokegrenade, an extra clip, goggles and a medkit.

Also, soldiers running around with coilguns or grenadelaunchers are too heavily loaded to get the TU bonus.
Might as well thrown the extra armor anyway.

"Lighties" have an important role in my games, they're my spearhead.
But they need a team behind them to take the punches.

Offline Eegxeta

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2013, 06:31:29 pm »
I really don't use snipers anymore. I found that they take too long to setup and are not very adaptable also I have found that my assaults end up out preforming the snipers significantly they get a higher hit chance at a much lower cost. Yeah the sniper can one shot a guy but generally by the time my sniper has gotten into position, the alien is already dead or moved. Early in the game snipers are useful as they do better at long range than the starting assault rifle, but as soon as you get plasma weapons that accuracy advantage quickly disappears as plasma assault rifles preform quite well at medium to long range and unlike the sniper rifle they also preform well as close range. Snipers to me are just not adaptable enough, yes they are better for long range firefights but they are practically useless at closer ranges when they don't have the time or the space to setup. Snipers are like artillery they are big, bulky, slow, and only really useful out in the open. I wish it wasn't so because my general tactic is to engage the enemy at long range, but you can't do that everywhere and I like to have my team be extremely adaptable.

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Is there really any point in equipping armor?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2013, 06:49:54 pm »
Sorry, I repectfully disagree. The bolter and coilguns are game changers, simply down to thier wall/ground penetration. Hell, you can fight off entrie alien base assault teams by shooting through the roof into them with either gun. AM rounds can take even heavy armour ortnoks down in one hit if the random number god is on your side.