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Archive for October, 2012

Resident Evil marathon

I know I said I’d provide you all with a strategy guide for Xcom classic ironman but I’ve been all kinds of busy since Tuesday and I’ve been having trouble keeping up. And to be perfectly honest, I feel my last post did cover the essentials which is really getting through the early game. I still want to write it, just not right now.

This brings me to my next project, a Resident Evil Marathon. Since I bought Resident evil 6 chronicles on the PS3 I received the entire collection of the main resident evil games, which means RE1 up to RE6. So now I have double of certain games but also I get my hands on some I didn’t get to play like RE3. All of this to say this gave me the idea of doing a marathon by replaying through each game in the numbered sequence, adding in two games, RE0 and RE3: Code veronica.

So here’s my challenge to myself. Play through the 8 main resident evil games in numbered order, starting with RE0. After I finish each game, I’ll be doing a quick review of the title with a particular emphasis on how it ties in the overall game mythology or just whatever comes to my mind.

I’ll be starting this weekend with RE0 and hopefully, I’ll stay motivated enough to see me through the end.

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It is done, humanity has been saved and the alien threat has been thwarted and my veterans can now get some much deserved rest. As of yesterday I can now say that I have beaten Xcom enemy unknown classic ironman challenge.

Some stats

Attempt # and time: game 19 and ~17 hours playtime
Total playtime (all attempts): 37 hours
In-game time: 267 days
Total soldiers lost: 17
Countries lost: USA, Mexico, England, France, China, Argentina
Starting country: USA

The last mission was done with a crack team consisting of 5 colonels (max rank) and one major of which there was 2 snipers, 2 support, 1 heavy (major) and 1 assault. I had three psykers, all characters had plasma weaponry and titan/psi armor. Foundry upgrades I found were useful for the last mission were the improved pistols and improved medpacks. I would have loved to have mindshields but didn’t wait to get the etherals bodies needed.

If you read the previous parts you may have noticed that the US was added to the list of countries I lost. This time it was a counscious choice. Moments before I launched the final mission I had a terror alert in Dallas and I chose to ignore it so I would not risk injuring anyone in my Team A. Sadly, this cost me the support of the US and probably meant that most everyone died in Dallas. I probably should feel more conflicted about this.

The overall strategy

Because I know this is what you’re all here for I’ll try to outline the broad goals. First of all there’s a definitive make or break point at the three months marker and then right at the fourth month marker. The first is whether you’re ready for mutons and the increased difficulty of the tactical game and the second is if you can manage well enough the terror levels. Both are tied of course but if you can make it past the fourth month in relative control then the worst is behind you.

Beating the Muton test: I’m using Mutons as the example but really it’s more about the increased difficulty in missions at the beginning of the third month.  It comes down to really three elements, having laser weaponry, having carapace armor and having ranked enough soldiers. There’s no big trick to this either. Rush to laser weapons (rifles are enough), then to armor and keep using the same soldiers over and over. If you can get the rest of the laser weapons all the better but you need to be able to take down mutons in two shots and be able to survive a hit from their weapons.

Managing the terror level: First, you cannot afford to fail anything. It’s that simple or it will all snowball rapidly out of control. Then comes the abduction mission choices.  The important thing here is that succeeding at an abduction mission will lower terror for that country only and raise the terror level in all of the countries of the continents you didn’t go to. So, not going to europe means you raise the terror level in 4 countries.  The overall strategy is simple, just look at what countries can take a terror hit and which cannot and plan accordingly. Satellites will likewise be used to lower terror levels in strategic spots.

Of course while your busy fighting the aliens and managing terror you’ll be making as many satellites as you possibly can so you can get full coverage (I achieved in in month 4). Once that is done and you start shooting down Ufos with some regularity you’ll see the terror levels slowly recede and at some point the abductions missions will stop altogether.

The middle and late game

I won’t spend too much time here because I want to do a guide later this week that will cover this but for now suffice to say that once you’re past the early game you will want to get plasma weaponry next and then the big titan armor quickly and finally work on building that A team that will see through the endgame.

Conclusion

In the end classic ironman was a fun and very intense experience. There was a scary moment in the oversee ufo mission where came within inches of total disaster but I managed a win thanks to my two snipers and some help from the random number generator. I’ll definitively give this game a few more playthroughs the first of which will probably be a game on normal so I can mess around with the tech I didn’t have time for (ghost armor, Shiv for example). I may do an impossible ironman playthrough later but I think I’ll give myself some time first to enjoy this victory.

Read part 1 and part 2

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More Xcom again today as I continue my fight to save the Earth from alien B movie rejects (check part 1 here).  I’ve  noticed from my metrics that there’s a lot of new faces here looking for advice and information on how to beat classic ironman and I’ll do my best to be helpful. With that said, let’s see what happened since last time.

Best attempt: Game 19, 6 months in and still going!

Between last time (game 14) and this game quite a few things happened. Game 15 and 16 looked promising but it all went to hell rapidly thanks to my friends the Muttons and them annihilating my teams. In many ways, Muttons are a breaking point in many games and you have to be ready for them or it will all spiral out of control very fast.  Game 17 was a false start and I can safely say that game 18 was the game random number generator messing with me. When you miss six 75% shots in a row, no amount of good strategy can save you.

So starting with game 16 I felt like I had a good idea of the overall early game strategy I wanted to adopt but I had trouble surviving long enough to make it. I’m realizing now that whether you make it through the first month is a both a matter of skill and luck. Yes good strategy will help a lot but taking on the first missions with rookies and squadies is not easy no matter what.

Game 19 is the first time I managed to make it through that critical first month relatively unscathed and with enough resources to be able to gear up. My plan to rush for laser weaponry seemed to be the right call and by the beginning of the third month I had laser weapons on my entire squads and starting to getting them on my ships. The first encounters with muttons wasn’t a pleasant one but I survived with only casualty so it was acceptable. On the strategy scale I have lost 5 countries out of 8 but there’s satellties coverage on all the rest and the terror level seems to be getting under control. Also I’m starting to get plasma weaponry and working on more advanced armor so I’m hopeful that this game might be the one.

Surviving the early game

I’m not saying this is the one true way to survive the early game but here’s my mini guide.

  • Rush to laser weaponry. Seriously, you need laser weapons asap or you’ll be in big trouble. First of all to take down those nasty thin man in one shot and also to take down those damn muttons in month 3. If you still have basic weaponry they will destroy you.
  • Get that satellite production up fast. You should be able to launch 1 satellite in the first month, 3 in the second and be ready for 3 or 4 more in the third month. Sounds a lot but it needs to be a priority or you’ll lose control of too many countries. Plan your base in advance and make sure your first two sat uplinks are next to each other.
  • Engineers! Your first alien abduction should net you 4 engineers and add a workshop quickly to get to 13 which will allow you to produce that second sat uplink and make laser weapons.
  • You need a flawless first month meaning not too many casualties and no failed missions. If you do fail a mission, restart right away.
  • Try to get high-ranking members fast. Don’t spread your talent. You want a few reliable members that will actually hit targets and give you real tactical options.
  • Try to plan abduction missions around which continents will be less affected. Not going to europe raise the terror in 4 countries while south america, only 2.
  • Sell alien computers and power source even if they are not researched. They are your best source of income early on and you can get more later.

Tips and thoughts of the day

  • High level snipers are crazy awesome. I have a top level one and bringing up a second. So much goodness.
  • Mutons have a tendency to come to you if you’re patient enough. Use that to your advantage.
  • Cyberdisks have a crazy movement range. Nowhere is safe and if needs be a noble sacrifice might be the way to go.
  • Intercepting UFOs seems to lower abductions events occurrence. Need to validate this but if its true that’s a big thing.
  • Laser canons on ships are a pretty good upgrade to get by the third month.
  • Prioritising weapon research over ufo research and engineers over scientists is counter intuitive but it’s paying off.

Read part 1 and part 3

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I’ve decided to chronicle my attempts at beating xcom on the classic ironman difficulty to share with all of you my desperate fight to save humankind and maybe also share some tips and knowledge with fellow Earth defenders.

Since things can go to hell very quickly in this particular mode of play. I won’t be chronicling every detail but rather what each game taught me, what’s my best attempt and just my thoughts and feelings in general.

So what exactly is Classic iron man challenge? To start off classic is the hard difficulty setting set to reflect the old difficulty of the original game. You’re way outgunned, the alien invasion ramps up very fast and you will never have enough time to do everything you want. It also means that you will lose some countries support and that you’ll play the entire game in catch-up mode.

And to make it really interesting you add Iron man mode meaning that you have to play the game without the ability to redo any mission or go back to an older save. You have to live with the consequences of your failures. So without further ado, here’s my progress so far.

Best attempt: Game 14, made it close to 4 months in.

So by game 14 my tactics for the tactical mode were sound enough to start making serious progress in the management side of things and I’m now realizing that I’ll have to give some more thoughts on how to approach the long-term goals. I felt like I was scrambling the entire time and that I didn’t have enough of anything to make serious progress. In the end, I was undone by attrition in my trained troops and too may countries panicking.

The previous games at a glance

Game 1-4: Those were played with the idea of getting the base mechanics down and just learning how to play the game so I wasn’t even trying to make it past the first month.

Game 5-9:Sadly, these games were pretty much xcom kicking my ass in the tactical mode so bad I couldn’t hope to continue playing. Sooner or late I’d lose a fight so badly, not only would I lose too much support from the council but I’d be stuck with all rookie teams.

Game 10-11: I was doing better tactically but I couldn’t figure out how to keep the world from panicking and I was trying various paths of research to find a solution or rush to better ships/satellites. I was starting to suspect I was doing something horribly wrong and I was right.

Game 12: Look at that! You can base interceptors in other countries! God I’m dumb. This was so obvious yet I somehow missed it. The world is still going crazy but at least I can keep better control and not die as fast.

Game 13-14: Progress is being made but I can’t seem to catch a break in research and facilities. I need a ton of stuff and I just can’t make it fast enough… I’ll need to start thinking about the long-term strategy. Game 14 was the first time I managed to get laser weaponry and armor on everyone and it made such a huge difference I think I’ll work hard at getting it faster.

Tips and thoughts of the day

  • Base interceptors in other countries… duh
  • Laser weaponry is vital to survival as is armor. I need to work on getting those way faster.
  • I need to make a plan for long-term strategy and not go for the fastest research in the hope that more research is better. Weapon and armor need to be a priority.
  • Engineers are important and I was stuck for a while because of a lack of them. Need moar engineers!
  • I need to chain produce satellites and facilities.. can’t have the base builders wasting away precious days.
  • (tactical) Waiting the enemy out can pay big time especially in missions were there’s a lot of aliens around.

Read part 2 and part 3

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So I was looking around and this article from Darth Hater made me jump in my chair. What!?! How is it possible that Swtor wins any sort of award? With the poor subscriptions performance, the bad reviews, the firings at Bioware. How is it possible for it to win anything?

So I went over to the Game Developers Choice Online Award website and looked at the categories, the rules and the advisory comittee to see if I could figure it out….

and I can’t.

I had written this really long post as to why but I’ll leave it up to everyone to make their own mind. I’ll just say that any game that lost that many subscribers and had to fire so many of its own employees should not receive the Best New Online Game award.

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