Hello! And welcome to the RPS XCom Community Strategy guide.
This guide will be made up of tips, tricks, and whatnot by our very own community, and I will take on my weary shoulders the task of editting the guide from the discussions had in this thread.
Got something to add, disagree with something said, want the guide to cover something in specific? Got questions, want to discuss strategic issues, want to pontificate? It's all good. Post in this thread, and we'll hopefully get around to aiding you! The idea is to start sparse, and develop things over time with community effort.
Remember, this game is full of spoilers, so, please, do remember to hide spoilers by either using a *SPOILER* tag, or by making the text white like so: Spoiler: Sectoids do not have mouths in th
(I prefer *SPOILER*)
(It has been noted that, as a guide, a lot of stuff in here will be spoilery anyway.)
Here we go, starting sparsely...
Game difficulty notes - http://xcom.wikia.com/wiki/Game_Difficulty
(Video) Ironman guide - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5RHqASSvEU
(Video) Developer tips - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yltaXdVE5nI
- Roll the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in on the base. Be a voyeur!
- Keep a close eye on your engineers. A lack of scientists slows things down, not having enough engineers to unlock a technology prevents you from using it, at all. Certain buildings require progressively more engineers -- like extra satellite uplinks. If starting in Europe, as such, be sure to get at least one sattelite over a country that will give you one or more Engineers each month, just in case.
- Alloys and Elerium are a bottleneck resource later on -- they're required for many pieces of neat gear. Try and avoid selling them unless you absolutely have to.
- There is some debate as to what to rush for first, armour, or beam weapons. Ultimately this is a matter of taste. Pros/cons seem to be:
--- Armour - Keeps your soldiers alive longer. Very important to keep your veterans around and veteran. Carapace + the Nano vests results in a much more survivable soldier. Keep in mind you MUST have a sergeant to unlock the first tier of squad size upgrade, and you can't get one if your squad keeps dying.
--- Lasers - Gives even rookies the chance to maul enemies in the early game, allowing them to reach squaddie instead of dying miserably. Lasers are essential by the time Mutons arrive.
- Plot related missions (the objectives) don't run out of time. You can take as long as you like to go after them, but keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more powerful the enemies will be when you get there.
- If you haven't tried using the S.H.I.V., do so immediately. They are a little expensive, but they are handy little bastards, especially when you have more money on hand.
- You get the continental bonus for your base from the start. You can unlock all others with sattelites over each nation.
- Try and build a new satellite uplink each month. This will require you to have workshops to help with engineers, and grab new engineers often as you can, but being able to deploy satellites over problematic territories right before the end of the month can prevent them from leaving the X-Com Project.
- Countries are known to occasionally (maybe always?) instantly withdraw from the X-Com project after a failed terror mission.
- Remember, the way you lose the game is by filling up the 'doom clock' on the Situation Room screen. This requires eight council nations to leave the X-Com project.
- Remember, never use dash to get into a firing position unless you NEED to. Regular movement doesn't reduce firing accuracy (except for snap-shot perked snipers). Also, never reload while in a firing position. As a concrete example, if you've got a soldier at the corner of a building, don't dash him right up to the corner - bring him up a few squares short, so he can't be shot at until he's actually moved up and gone into overwatch/taken his shot. Likewise, if you can pull a soldier back out of line of sight when reloading, moving back into position shouldn't be a problem.
- Hotkey to reload is 'R', hotkey to go into overwatch is 'Y'. Both are very useful.
- Use bounding overwatch (Two guys move, two guys provide overwatch cover.)
- All soldier classes are needed but a dedicated support medic and a Corporal-ranked sniper (usually with Squad-Sight, fantastic with overwatch) are more or less necessary.
- Don't stop stunning aliens just because you don't need them for research. Each stunned alien will drop its weapon intact, and you can use it later, or possibly sell it to a council-member country in one of their council requests. (Apparently for big money, too.)
- If caught out by enemies while you're in narrow corridors without cover, fall back rather than charge ahead.
- If you think a squad of aliens is ahead, advance slowly. If you've just triggered a squad of aliens, pull back a bit and try to tempt them forward if you can do so safely -- pushing forward risks alerting another squad of aliens, and may result in your being horribly outnumbered.
- Remember to reload, or at the very least, stagger your reloads. Nothing hurts like having your entire squad out of ammunition simultaneously. (Handy hotkey - R.)
- Keep an eye open on flaming cars. They explode in one turn after being ignited, doing damage to everything within one square. As such, advancing under overwatch fire towards a car is very dangerous -- you might arrive there, only for it to be set on fire!
- In your early terror missions, if you're having trouble, try to focus on survival instead of saving civillians. Move forward slowly, and retreat often. Yes, the terrified people of the world will be slaughtered. Hopefully, your troops won't.
*SPOILER* - On the escort missions, when a Thin Man appears, dropping from the sky, they will trigger overwatch soldiers. As such, having soldiers overwatching the route back to the Skyranger is very helpful indeed.