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Author Topic: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning  (Read 7594 times)

Offline Machiavegli

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How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« on: March 19, 2017, 02:56:12 am »
Total newb here.  What is the best build/research/buy/equip order starting off in the beginning of the game?  I have found more general for newbs in these forums but I'm looking for what to build, buy and equip and do right out of the gate.  What buildings do I build first? Another lab? Another interceptor bay? What do I do with production and research teams? (Especially production: there doesn't seem to be much to do because everything can be bought.)  How do I fill the ten extra beds I'm given at the beginning of the game?  What attributes do I pick for my starting attack group, and how do I equip them?  What should I buy?  How should I equip my first interceptor and transport?  I see a lot of threads address these more generally, but I haven't found anything that talks about how to start off the game on the right foot.  Thanks for any advice you can provide.  (Assume I'm starting off in standard mode.)

Offline Namerutan

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Re: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 12:15:54 pm »
Total newb here.  What is the best build/research/buy/equip order starting off in the beginning of the game?  I have found more general for newbs in these forums but I'm looking for what to build, buy and equip and do right out of the gate.

It depends a lot on your way of playing; I could give some general advices, but then your possibilities would be directed to the way I play.  ;)
Best thing I can tell you is: try different things, explore the possibilities of the game by starting new campaigns after trying some things, then you will get the fun from discovering stuff yourself.
Anyway, I'll try to answer some of your questions below.


What buildings do I build first? Another lab? Another interceptor bay?
You start with a balanced base, with buildings of each type, so it does not mind much what do you do at first (at least in standard/easy levels). Once you have played several campaigns, you will know some buildings need more time to be built (workshop, lab, antimatter containment), and cost more cash; so these need some more planning. You will not need workshops in the first month, and cannot build antimatter containment yet, so just care to plan for labs, while can build other stuff with less planning.

However, a must is to build in first day an Ufo yard; you need to store recovered ufos to study them, then dissassemble to get components (and research them) to get new technologies for your own ships.

After several campaigns, you will notice one more thing: the base layout is important to better defend from base attacks.
You could play with a single base (at least on lower difficulties), but it is much more reasonable (and fun) to build more bases; I think 3 bases is the lower amount for me, while 4-5 gives much more fun (and helps more in hardest difficulties, but it cost a lot to get cash enough).
I usually start the second base also in day 1 (in all difficulties). There are 2 required buildings that needs a bunch of days, and you cannot build in not connected tiles, so it will take some time before your new bases start being operative.

What do I do with production and research teams? (Especially production: there doesn't seem to be much to do because everything can be bought.)
After you have researched some new technologies, your workshop will start being low to maintain your needs, but on first month you can simply ignore them. I think month 3 is my start to use workshops, so I start building these in my second base in month 2.


How do I fill the ten extra beds I'm given at the beginning of the game?
When you play on hardest difficulties, you will have severe restrictions on the staff you can hire, so that will set what to do with your extra room in living quarters. On easier difficulties I would use it for more soldiers and/or scientists.


What attributes do I pick for my starting attack group, and how do I equip them?  What should I buy?
This is the area of the game where you can get more fun; explore the different possibilities in different campaigns, try different approachs: use more close combat units, or more snipers, or more assault, or balance all them... Try every possible weapon, to discover strengths and weaknesses, and what gives you better results while using some tactics/strategies.
As a starting point, I suggest you to use a balanced team, 2 with pistols, 1 with assault rifles, 1 with machine gun, 1 with sniper rifle, 1 with grenade launcher, 1 with rocket launcher, 1 with flamethrower; most them with support equipment: medikit, glasses, and a few grenades (of all types), and with ammunition to reload weapons.


How should I equip my first interceptor and transport?
In easier difficulties, you would like to use several interceptors in each base (2-3), so you can deal with ufos. Try every possible equipment for your crafts, then chose what best suits your needs. Tip: there is a weapon with longer range than any ufo weapon.


(Assume I'm starting off in standard mode.)
I recommend you to play the campaign several times in each difficulty, starting with the easiest one.
You will discover that some strategies are not good for different difficulties.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 12:20:20 pm by Namerutan »

Offline Machiavegli

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Re: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 01:18:27 am »
Best thing I can tell you is: try different things, explore the possibilities of the game by starting new campaigns after trying some things, then you will get the fun from discovering stuff yourself.

*******

[Battlescape] is the area of the game where you can get more fun; explore the different possibilities in different campaigns, try different approachs: use more close combat units, or more snipers, or more assault, or balance all them... Try every possible weapon, to discover strengths and weaknesses, and what gives you better results while using some tactics/strategies.


I spent several hours trying to set up a "balanced" ground assault team in skirmish mode.  Two-thirds of the squad died on the ramp of the plane on the first turn.  Then I saw something about smoke grenades being important, and  I spent a few more hours trying to re-balance my team with more smoke grenades. I lost half my squad in just three turns (and more wounded), with only two aliens killed.  I think there should be some simple weapon and loadout combinatitons that work. I just want to know the basic stuff. Now I know know smoke grenades are good.  How about frag/flashbang/incendiary greandes? How many of each should I be carrying? What are the best basic guns? How much extra ammo? What are the best alternate ammos, especially sabot v. flechette for the shotgun?  You said to try pistols: which one(s)?  I'm just trying to get a survivable ground team and get through a ground mission, so I know I'm competent enough to (maybe) get through the whole game.  Please help me do that. Thanks for any advice you can give.

Offline Namerutan

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Re: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 01:51:24 am »
I spent several hours trying to set up a "balanced" ground assault team in skirmish mode.  Two-thirds of the squad died on the ramp of the plane on the first turn.

I think skirmish can be good some times to try things, but you can get very hard games in skirmish mode; for example, you can start with very bad combinations of equipment, while the enemies got nice ones.

Then I saw something about smoke grenades being important, and  I spent a few more hours trying to re-balance my team with more smoke grenades.
All grenades requires few Time Units to be used, so you can use a smoke grenade to hide your troops before the visible enemy can shoot at you; then you got time to re-position your troops as needed.

I lost half my squad in just three turns (and more wounded), with only two aliens killed.  I think there should be some simple weapon and loadout combinatitons that work. I just want to know the basic stuff.
Basic stuff: reaction fire is deadly, especially if the enemy uses advanced weapons (like it can be in skirmish) and good armours (so you deal very low damage to them with basic weapons). In campaign (not in skirmish), aliens start using kerrblades (a big knife) and plasma pistols. Plasma pistol requires 6 Time Units for the faster shoot type, so you can use a few soldiers with pistols (the small one), that requires just 4 Time Units for a fast shoot; if the alien is not wearing some armour (at the star of the campaign) with 2 or maybe 3 shoots you can kill an alien, so you have chances to survive. Back to your base, your wounded soldier will use the hospital to fast recover health, and as a bonus, the max health value will get a good increase. While in the battlescape, use another soldier with a medikit to treat the wounds, so there is no more health lost due to bleeding.

Now I know know smoke grenades are good.  How about frag/flashbang/incendiary greandes? How many of each should I be carrying?
All grenades are good, as these requires low amount of Time Units, so you can use them without triggering the reaction fire from the enemy. Flashbang, if thrown near an enemy facing to the spot where you throw it, will deplete its remaining Time Units, so no reaction fire this round (and you are safe to shoot that alien with the same or with other soldiers); also will deplete the Time Units for the next round. Beware, there is no visible sign to know in advance if the enemy got stun (blind by the light from the flashbang) or not (for example if was facing to another direction).

What are the best basic guns? How much extra ammo?
It is a matter of taste, each player prefer different ones. I personally start using 3 soldiers with pistols, 3 with assault rifles, 1 with sniper rifle and 1 with grenade launcher. After I get some plasma pistols from previous battles, I research them fast (pausing other research) to replace my pistols. Laser pistol is also faster than plasma pistols, while deal more damage than a normal pistol (laser better than bullets).
About extra ammo, it depends on the type of weapon: low weight allow you to use more clips, but for rockets or grenade launcher you will be able to carry a lot less ammo. For rifles (all kind) I usually go with 2 extra clips (each soldier); for pistols I go with 4 extra clips (less weight, and less time units each shot, so you can shoot much more times).

What are the best alternate ammos, especially sabot v. flechette for the shotgun?
I saw a lot players that get fun using shotguns, but I personally do not use these. As I said, try yourself and chose what gives you more fun. I played the first 3 months of the campaign like 50 times :-D  testing different things, before I played a full campaign.

You said to try pistols: which one(s)?  I'm just trying to get a survivable ground team and get through a ground mission, so I know I'm competent enough to (maybe) get through the whole game.
All pistols are good enough, but I prefer the small one, as it requires less time units. It is enough to kill the aliens in first missions, especially if you spot one using a kerrblade and from certain distance. If the enemy uses plasma pistols, after I depleted the enemy's reaction fire shooting with my pistols, I am safe to use (other soldiers with) weapons that can deal more damage (sniper/assault rifles).
But you can try different tactics:
Use smoke to get cover, then use a single soldier to move outside the smoke: all soldiers can shoot at the visible enemies, without any reaction fire: they cannot see where are the shooters, just the guy outside the smoke.
Use flashbangs to deplete the enemy's time units.
Use sniper rifles to shoot through thin objects (trees, windows, even thin walls) so the enemy have much less chances to hit you.
Try to move around houses or small obstacles to shoot from rear side: if the enemy does not see you, you are safe.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 01:57:35 am by Namerutan »

Offline Norby

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Re: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 02:51:12 am »
There are good advices in ufopaedia.org, although my fist working strategy was completely different so pobably you will find another also.

Some advices:
- You should learn everything about reaction fire. The effect is cumulative if you keep your soliders together in a line.
- Use radar ("r" key) and even a ruler on the monitor before fire to detemine if an enemy see your solider.
- Accuracy is very important. Even rookies could be effective with Sniper Rifle just do not forget to crouch first.
- Scientists can work on a task only in one base at once so better if you fill up a base with labors and another with workshops.
- Always keep enough soliders at home, base attacks sometimes comes out of the air. Well not exacty just looks like, due to radars need some time to detect an ufo so if it is appear near the base then sometimes arrive sooner than detected.
- In skimrish you can safely reduce the number of enemies a bit lower from the default 30. :)
- Use IR Googles to X-ray buildings, ideally in all turns. To learn the size of the scanned area once put one into a hand and "fire" to scan.
- A big decision is a bit later than whether you go to the all missions with the same 8 soliders to improve them as fast as possible or use 2 teams to cover the whole planet and catch more ufos. The first way probably need more reloads due to unwanted lost of an experrienced team member, second is fit better if you like to restrict reloads, so depends on your playstyle.
- Read through the tip of days, FAQ, wiki, and ask again. ;)

Offline Machiavegli

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Re: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 03:28:30 am »
Thanks for all the help guys!  I think I figured what the problem is here: The skirmish mode aliens have all sorts of firepower while I'm just using starting weapons.  They also seem to have more hit points (I had two soldiers blasting away point-blank at a blood spider with assault rifles without taking it down) and seem to be more accurate (consistently taking my troops down from across the map while I can't hit anything that far away).  I thought that when I selected beginning campaign-level troops and equipment at the start of the skirmish the levels of of the aliens would be adjusted accordingly, and that doesn't seem to be the case.  I don't think I can dumb the aliens down to starting level in skirmish; maybe I can do it from the console.  Anyway, thanks again; with all your advice I'm pretty confident I can handle enemies that are at my level now in the campaign game. Cheers!

Offline TBeholder

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Re: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 12:36:22 pm »
What is the best build/research/buy/equip order starting off in the beginning of the game?
 I have found more general for newbs in these forums but I'm looking for what to build, buy and equip and do right out of the gate.  What buildings do I build first? Another lab? Another interceptor bay? What do I do with production and research teams?
Early on, you need better toys ASAP, and there's much R&D to do, so +1 lab is reasonable.
Your own production can't make money, so the only advantage of running it early on is that you're not dependent on the amount of items on market - but this varies in different versions. If there's few of something you want (esp. expendables), just make more.
What attributes do I pick for my starting attack group, and how do I equip them?
YMMV, get a "feel" of it in Skirmish. Also, see "My tactics" topic. But generally, consider that you'll probably have 2 fire teams.
You need:
  • Sniper for long range (which helps to save civilians in the first turns)
  • Shotgun for short range/guarding (flamethrower arguably is better, but it's tricky and heavy)
  • LMG for more reliable kills and long-range reaction fire. AR needs less TU for RF, and is more accurate for the same damage per bullet, but practically single shot is too weak, and burst x3 isn't quite as good as burst x5 (which also compensates lesser accuracy simply by firing more bullets).
  • Grenade launcher for indirect attacks. Because hand grenades don't have "Impact" mode.
Smoke grenades are "must have" - both to cover bad position and to save civilians. Flashbang and frag grenades if the soldier can haul all that.
Armor is necessary, Goggles - depends on conditions, but unless you really need that .2 kg, take them.
Missiles hit hard, but only 1 shot, and useless indoors, so not worth it IMO. GL allows 2 indirect shots + move.
Sidearms: drawing them takes TU and provokes RF, thus you'll very rarely actually get to use them unless you give it to a soldier with ML or sniper rifle and switch while not in the open for more RF shots. If you got strength... Machinepistol fits in 3 squares (in an angle) on the belt, while others are 2x2 (even 7.62 pistol for some reason) - but it's weak, and burst is 9 TU. 7.62 is 4 TU (the fastest, like knife and laser), lighter and hits harder, if you don't mind 2x2. But if you don't mind 2x3, take micro shotgun - it's dead killy at short range (at least vs. meat, spiders are tougher) and only 0.1 kg heavier than MP.
Once you research Plasma Pistol, maybe that - it's 2x2 too, light, has decent range, stronger that most sidearms (weaker than flechettes against meat, but medium armor changes this). Laser Pistol is as fast as 7.62 and only slightly heavier, but weaker.
When you don't care about RF (because this soldier walks behind 3 others), usually it's better to take a few grenades and have an extra smoke or flashbang when you're in a trouble.

Extra ammunition: you don't really need any in the usual missions, except ML and sometimes GL, but you may want choice (slug/flechette, different grenades).
Medkit needs to be moved to Holster slot - it's TU-hungry, and moving even just a few steps more may help; this way you often can take it, use, put back and move a little on the same round. May make exception for soldiers with Plasma Pistol as sidearm.

  How should I equip my first interceptor and transport?
Consider that medium/large UFOs are dead killy until you get some tough stuff of your own, and replacing interceptors is expensive and slow (repair takes time, too).
Saracen: it costs more, and can't take much of a beating. Since it's fast, it can nicely take scouts, but you'll need to identify those first. Then again, if you are careful, it can also run away from an armed UFO easier and lead them by the nose longer. YMMV, probably isn't worth taking until 2nd-3rd developed base.
Having both armor and ECM gives a good chance vs. small UFO or decent chance vs. medium UFO dragged through SAM sites. Targeting Computer, because your accuracy isn't great. Anything else is wishful thinking - very far away from the base you'd have neither SAM sites for fire support nor radar coverage to detect and track UFO in the first place, and long chase isn't much of an issue, since an UFO will either run away before you'll need a fuel pod, or itself will chase your interceptor.
You need to upgrade, but without alien samples can only develop Laser Cannon - approaching in cannon range should be avoided anyway, but you'll have to, and hey, this one is significantly better than what you get at the start.

Oh, and yes, build outside installations - try UFO Yard (right away, because it takes much time) + 2 SAM sites; place SAM sites on the edges of radar coverage, so that you can lure aggressive UFO into their fire zones. Consider building "skeleton" bases - without radar or weapons, the risk of a raid is minimal, but each Command Center raises cap on installations by 3, so Storage (in case of a raid when you develop them, you don't want anything fragile near the lift) - Living Quarters (maybe) - Command Center / Lab (Maybe) - Power Plant.

EDIT: clarity
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 01:58:59 am by TBeholder »

Offline Adler

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Re: How To Start: Build, Research and Equipment At The Beginning
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 12:57:56 pm »
What buildings do I build first? Another lab? Another interceptor bay?
I think there are many possible ways, but i prefer not to build anything in main base for a long time and start building a second base at turn 1. You only need 4 buildings (commando, power, radar, entry) to cover more map (248.000 credits). 2 more buildings (quarters, storage) to defend it if necessary, but you don't need those first few months. In that second base i build laboratories by and by. I start building 3rd base usually very early too, about 3rd or 4th month (that's where i build my workshops).
What do I do with production and research teams?
Production at the beginning is useless. I fire the workers but keep the workshop until i have a factory base with at least 3 or 4 workshops. First things i usually research and build are the better armour and laser rifles when available. Before that plasma rifles are nice and maybe Kerrblades.
How do I fill the ten extra beds I'm given at the beginning of the game?
I never hire personal just to fill beds. I only hire what i need, because personal is expensive. On the contrary, in bases where i have no soldiers or strong air defense, i keep free beds to be able to hire soldiers if that base is under attack.
What attributes do I pick for my starting attack group ...?
The first 3 attributes, Strength, Speed and precision are the most important for me when i recruit new soldiers. Sanity can be ignored and the weapon class skills will raise very fast by using the equivalent weapons. In even ignore most of the time in which weapon type they start off good with and equip them with whatever i like. But once i did that, i never switch weapon type.
... and how do I equip them?
Again, many ways to do it. I prefer 1-2 sniper, 1-2 grenade launcher (later on, when i use a 12 men ship, sometimes i use one of them as missile), one flame thrower and at least 4 rifles. I start with 2 assault rifles and 2 machine guns. Then i switch part of them to plasma. I like rifles most, because there are all kinds of rifles for different range and uses. After a while i add a second close combat soldier with Kerrblade (and lots of hand-grenades), later on i replace Kerrblade with monomoleculare blade. I don't use pistols at all, i don't like the low damage, but maybe for first few months they are ok (but beware, they are close combat and in my opinion there are much better weapons for close combat then pistols).
In mid game, i have about 12 soldiers for my 8 men ship. Then i can easily replace wounded soldiers or choose the weapon types depending on the map.
How should I equip my first interceptor and transport?
I think most have been said, but in general, i don't equip my transports at all.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 12:59:55 pm by Adler »