Sunday, September 11, 2016

X-Com War Diaries, Part XI - December 2016

Previous: X-Com War Diaries, Part X - November 2016

This will be the last post in this series until 2017. After this I'm going back to writing fan fiction, and endeavour to catch up the Long War story to around December 2016 before resuming play. As I've stated before, the purpose of this parallel series was to give me an idea of X-Com's progression during the calendar year in order to better weave in real events and my own headcanon. With my playthrough now up to January 2017 there's now plenty of material to work with. I'm also suffering from X-Com fatigue, if truth be told. Not the writing fiction part - that's always fun - but at this point I reckon I've played almost 1000 missions. The most fun for me now is to play one or two missions a week to advance the campaign, and leave it at that. At this speed I'll have lots of time to catch my headcanon up to my in-game campaign state.


December 2016.

So, December 2016. 18 contacts, of which 12 were shot down or destroyed by X-Com fighters. 15 missions in total, all completed - three abductions, three EXALT missions, one terror mission, seven recovery missions, and one Council mission - disarm an alien bomb. Two scouts shot down by X-Com forces were left to the auspices of local authorities. I refuse to send out squads composed mostly of rookies and will just pass on salvage if there are insufficient experienced troops to lead the way. 


Constructing an Elerium Generator to power the Hyperwave Relay.

The best news in December was that X-Com only lost three soldiers, arresting the casualty freefall we've been in since September. We also had another soldier reach maximum level. Master Sergeant "Graev" Maestas joins the ranks of the elite. Snipers make up the preponderance of that list as they are tucked away safely behind the front lines and are rarely exposed to enemy fire. If the aliens can shoot your snipers they will - I found this out the hard way when "Syl" Roche bought the farm. "Akuma" Ishikawa is my most impressive max level soldier because his job is to scout ahead and draw fire. His survival is belied by the fact that there are many, many other scouts on the memorial wall who were not as fortunate. It's taken 10 months to create my short list of elites (I don't have a full squad of max level soldiers yet), and they can die so fast, especially in Ironman mode. I've become so calloused at losing good soldiers, especially after the loss of some favourites earlier in the campaign. It's never fun, but the temptation to quit and restart is gone. Final victory is all that matters. Once I finish this Long War campaign I'm never going to play the Long War again. X-Com 2 though? I haven't played through the latest DLC - Shen's Last Gift - so never fear. I'll still be playing some variant of X-Com well into the future, just not the Long War. My dream game is a hybrid Jagged Alliance / X-Com hybrid, where the dysfunctional cast of mercs is tasked with saving the world. That would be awesome.

The three EXALT missions we conducted this month allowed us to finally pinpoint the location of the EXALT base. It was in Japan, leading to unique situation in which Japan harboured both an alien base and the EXALT base at the same time. That would be our objective for next month then - to assault both strongholds, and bring Japan back into the Council fold. But that account will have to wait until my fan fiction is back on track.


At the close of 2016 X-Com is striking back, and have won back two countries after losing five to the invaders.

So by the close of 2016 X-Com are armed with gauss weapons and Aegis armour, with plasma weapons and Titan armour in the pipeline. We have four to five MEC troopers who share two basic exo-suits, and we've started giving small genetic enhancements to select scouts and assault troops to increase their survivability. We possess two alloy SHIVs and two or three expendable older models which can be taken at a pinch. Our fighter based airforce is fully upgraded, and can be depended on to blow small to medium contacts out of the sky. We have captured and interrogated every member of the alien invasion force, with the sole exception of the Ethereals. Our cadre of psykers is growing. EXALT is exposed and vulnerable to a final assault. Three nations are still occupied by the invaders, but the return of Canada and Russia to the fold have encouraged and emboldened the task force.

On the downside - our fighters are still no match for large or very large contacts. Sectopods have been encountered a few times, and while these war machines are serious threats, they pale in comparison to the Ethereals themselves. Fights with the alien overlords are dangerous because of their ability to mind control. Sectoid commanders share this ability, but aren't as dangerous because they die pretty easily. An MCed trooper can be rescued by concentrating all fire on the controlling sectoid, but Ethereals are far more robust and have the ability to reflect damage. They're usually accompanied by a cadre of Muton Elite guard as well, while the sectoid commanders just have sectoids and the occasional mechtoid for backup. We still haven't had the base assault yet, which is somewhat unnerving because we'll be fighting a fully upgraded alien force when they do hit us. Most of the enemy have 20 hit points or more nowadays, and we really need our plasma weapons to keep up with the health escalation. Finally, there's always the fact that the task force is just one step away from disaster at all times. One bad mission could wipe out my elite cadre at a moment's notice. So there's plenty of fight still left in this campaign. For now though, it's time to return to the fan fiction.

Next: TBC in 2017

2 comments:

  1. "Four to five MEC troopers" You've got half a mec trooper? Part men, part machine, full XCOM?

    Good job anyway for surviving to this point.

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  2. Your fan fiction was so great too - Glad you're fueled up for more!

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