SallyNasty's Game Club — XCOM 2 (Mar. 2019)

No, you're not confused: I'm posting the March game club thread in the middle of February. Since XCOM 2 is a longer game than we typically pick for the club, I wanted to open the thread up early to give people a bit more time with it. Also, March looks like a pretty hefty month for releases, so a head start helps there, too.

Earth has changed and is now under alien rule. Facing impossible odds you must rebuild XCOM, and ignite a global resistance to reclaim our world and save humanity.

XCOM 2 is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It is currently available as part of PlayStation Now. It is also currently on sale on both Xbox and PS4 for 75% off.

Just realized I had bought and forgot about this after talking with SallyNasty about it. Might be good to try something different after 4 solid months of RDR2.

I am in there like swim wear!

oh. OH!

...gonna have to uninstall something to have enough disk space to download, but I was thinking of doing another Xcom2 run recently anyway.

There's a file of GWJ folks that Maq made kicking around somewhere, and I have a file for my own character I can upload as well if anyone wants it. I'll see if I can track down both (I'm sure someone else has a copy as well).

Okay, this is my first foray into the game club, but I'm set. I love me some XCOM2. Can I ask if we're all going vanilla game experience, or are we including any DLC, or is that a totally personal choice?

Totally personal choice, as far as I'm concerned. I'll be playing vanilla because I'm too cheap to buy the expansion when I get the base game from PS Now.

I have never actually played the vanilla game, having jumped in after WOTC was released. Playing vanilla sounds like a fun prospect. I'm totally in!

I just finished my Vanilla Legend playthrough, gonna jump right back in and do a commander playthrough to try and get the cheev for winning by July 1. Really enjoy this game and it looks great X enhanced!

So long... I've owned it since the first sale probably ($20 off) and only finished one campaign in all that time.

I highly, highly recommend people play with WOTC installed.

Aside from adding really nifty expansion features, it incorporates many quality of life changes that dramatically improve the game experience.

My first finishing of an XCOM2 game will co-incide nicely with this. I bought it at launch, fell off the wagon in the end-game of vanilla, then jumped back in with War Of The Chosen, and fell of that wagon too. Been plinking away it every couple of months, and I think I finally got to the "no turning back" point.

Stele wrote:

So long... I've owned it since the first sale probably ($20 off) and only finished one campaign in all that time.

I've got ~150 hours in the game and have only finished a single campaign myself. I've got a handful of failed ironman runs pre-WOTC, and I'm about 75% of the way through my first real WOTC campaign, which I've actually just taken a few days off of in order to play through the Tactical Legacy mini-campaigns.

Reaper81 wrote:

I highly, highly recommend people play with WOTC installed.

Aside from adding really nifty expansion features, it incorporates many quality of life changes that dramatically improve the game experience.

Agreed. Also, the resistance ring + fatigue (was this in vanilla?) makes it pretty tough to actually lose a game, even if your 'A' squad gets wiped. The resistance ring adds a bunch of ways to get characters experience even if they're not out on missions and it has ways to reduce the Avatar progress meter to buy you more time to take out blacksites. The fatigue + injury system means that you're rarely taking the same squad out on back-to-back missions, the result being that you'll level up way more than a single squad's worth of characters.

... and that's not even getting into the options that the ability point system gives you as far as creating pretty amazing skill combinations, the unique weapons that come from the chosen, the massive improvements they made in loading times (these might have been backported to vanilla), etc. Basically, if you can afford it, I consider WOTC pretty much mandatory. The free DLC that came out a few months ago (Tactical Legacy Pack) is pretty great as well.

Is WotC a separate campaign or addition to the main?

It just adds a ton of stuff to the normal campaign.

SallyNasty wrote:

Is WotC a separate campaign or addition to the main?

It's DLC stacked on top of the main, adds some new mechanics and tweaks the vanilla game substantially. But it operates as a separate campaign - you can't wander back and forth between the two rulesets with the same save.

Vanilla game is flipping excellent, and worth it for a newcomer, but I consider WotC the ultimate version.

Enabled, downloaded the digital deluxe version and WOTC on Xbox, both of which are currently deeply discounted. Can’t wait to finally dig in to this!

Can someone explain the rules here? Or is it just "Play the game, and moan online about it?"

That's more or less the idea. From the Hellblade thread:

The goal is to have fun and provide a chance for people to play the same game at the same time even if it's well after launch. The only thing we expect is that you use spoiler tags for plot events and surprises. If you're not sure if something counts as a spoiler, use spoiler tags just to be on the safe side.

I should probably add that to the OP for future threads, since I've gotten that question a fair amount.

I picked up the WotC expansion and physical base more than a year ago now and hardly put any time in at all. I think I traded in the base disc so all I have is the expansion atm.

However PS Now, yay. I'm very much in. Let's see if I can give it a proper go this time.

I got as far as my first Chosen encounter last time, it didn't go well arse. kicked.

Nice!

I'll chime in...

Never forget the good ol' days on a 386sx waiting and waiting for the moves of UFO: Enemy unknown and smoking herbs during the wait. Took us an enormous amount of time before we realised that to promote soldiers, we actually had to have more of them than the 20 or so we tried to keep.

10 slots of saved games we used up for every map we had to shoot through, turn 1 to 10, then 2 till 11, rinse and repeat. One time we stumbled in something that was bigger than ours (base attack, or something with psy) and all or saved games ended up in being a cul-de-sac because we had would loose anyway, and had no option to go back and prep another team with other weapons.

Oh the memories...

Played the remake last year and it was a blast to play and a brilliant labour of love by the makers.

I started a new vanilla play through last night. It really is a jarring difference in the early play between this and WOTC. I'm really enjoying it so far, though. Coming from WOTC, it almost feels ... more direct.

Spoiler:

The opening stages of getting right out into the world and scanning to rebuild the resistance feels very different from WOTC. I'm not sure what it is, but something feels off about the story beats in the vanilla campaign. I just can't seem to put my finger yet on why it feels that way.

ThatGuy42 wrote:

I started a new vanilla play through last night. It really is a jarring difference in the early play between this and WOTC. I'm really enjoying it so far, though. Coming from WOTC, it almost feels ... more direct.

Spoiler:

The opening stages of getting right out into the world and scanning to rebuild the resistance feels very different from WOTC. I'm not sure what it is, but something feels off about the story beats in the vanilla campaign. I just can't seem to put my finger yet on why it feels that way.

Certis talked about this on the podcast a LONG time ago. His perspective was that WOTC story / narrative beats added something that was missing in vanilla XCOM 2.

Anyhoo:

Spoiler:

1. Always end your turn in cover. Full cover (represented by a full blue shield) is best.

2. Aim / to-hit chance is determined by many factors (cover, distance, enemy skills). Try to gain height advantage against enemies to improve to-hit chance.

3. Flashbang grenades are very powerful against organic enemies (but not the Lost!). Flashbangs reduce hit chance, lock out some abilities, limit movement and can break mind controls (if used on the caster, not the target.)

4. In WOTC, there is no real set facility build or research order. The game has a randomized chance to provide bonuses to research, construction, or excavation. That said, the Guerilla Tactics School (GTS) allows you to research squad size increases so it is a powerful early game building.

5. Never “yellow move” as a first move until you get a feel for how enemy pods activate. (A pod refers to a group of enemies.)

6. Your people will die. A bunch. That’s XCOM, baby!

Yay!

Just started up the Vanilla version and love it already! GUI is brilliant with the cover icons. The intro movie and moving the package felt like I watched 11 seasons of X-files in 5 minutes (ok... I always hated the X-files because they tried to evolve as less plot as possible smeared out over too much seasons, but my wife loved it.. or Fox Mulder, that is).

Up to the armory!

Ventured into a Murphy's Law in the first mission. Forgot that if something goed wrong in X-com, everything will go wrong and got completely destroyed. All men missing their targets for three turns in a row, panicking, exploding nodes... total carnage. on my side.

This mission even went so wrong that for a moment I thought it was railroaded for the story, that you had to loose this one to progress... So it hurt when the Mission failed popped up.

Phew. Finished all the Legend/Commander/Ironman cheevs off so I can now just do my next playthrough on easy!

Great game!

Installing...

...it'll take a while 'cause 70+ effing gig :O

I got it down onto the PS4 in two chunks.

Vanilla on Thursday, WotC yesterday, now ready to go!

ok... downloaded, added some cosmetic and quality of life mods and filled up the character pool with goodjers. Ready to go I think!

Oh. My. Goodness. Spoilers for story mission and WOTC difference.

Spoiler:

So I have never before played the mission with the SPARK recovery. The story there with Lily and her dad, and the rogue AI, JULIAN, is actually amazing. I guess this is one of those things that got dropped in WOTC?
Because this is the first time I've played through it, and I absolutely loved it.

I think you can play it in WOTC, but you have to disable an option in the setup before you start a game I believe. Otherwise it just incorporates the contents of the DLC without the accompanying missions.

ThatGuy42 wrote:

Oh. My. Goodness. Spoilers for story mission and WOTC difference.

Spoiler:

So I have never before played the mission with the SPARK recovery. The story there with Lily and her dad, and the rogue AI, JULIAN, is actually amazing. I guess this is one of those things that got dropped in WOTC?
Because this is the first time I've played through it, and I absolutely loved it.

RE: Your spoiler -- that's part of the Shen's Last Gift DLC. In ~150 hours with the game (about 100 of them since all the DLC came out), I've never built a SPARK unit. Anyone have a strong opinion on them in either direction?

Some general tips for people just getting started:

Spoiler:
  • Until you start to promote rookies, make heavy use of your grenades. A guaranteed 3 damage is way better than a 50% shot.
  • Things like flashbangs and mimic beacons are lifesavers up until the late game, at which point you're better off just not letting the aliens get a shot off.
  • Once you've got the skulljack and skullmining researched, give one to any specialist you take it. It provides a hacking bonus.
  • Speaking of, always try to hack mission objectives with specialists, since those also often give permanent hacking bonuses.
  • While the gunslinger tree on the sharpshooter might seem weak, don't sleep on some of those skills. Late-game pistols are very powerful and getting a free shot with one (or taking a pistol shot at 5+ aliens) can really turn a battle. And, thanks to the WOTC training center room, you can now go down the sniper tree but still pick up a few handy skills from the gunslinger tree.
  • The same really applies to all classes -- there's are really good skills in all the trees, and I usually end up with my soldiers having most of one tree + a few select skills out of the other.
  • Don't neglect Psi soldiers. You can train them up entirely without sending them out on missions and then once you do they're ridiculously powerful as both offensive and defensive units.