As a fan of XCOM:Enemy Within, I was looking forward to Long War mod. I heard some things about it and generally get hyped. Why wait 5+ years to play then, you ask? Well because I do things in my own time. And since I am eternal, time really isn't much of an issue for me.
Now that I've finally played this mod I will be attacking it like no tomorrow.
First of all there are many(MANY) changes to the vanilla XCOM. Before playing my first playthrough(PT), I read the readme file of the mod which had tons of disclaimers by the modders.
Some stupid review site said that it's an expansion pack. It really isn't.
An expansion pack usually adds to the current gameplay, with Long War the entire game system is changed.
Who shouldn't play XCOM:LW?
If you played vanilla on normal difficulty and think that your are amazing at it.
If you don't have a lot of time on your hands.
If you played and liked Skyrim.
If you ever called yourself a Call of Duty fan.
If you never seen one of them Ironmen Impossible gameplays on Youtube.
Believe me you best stay away.
This mod is amazingly fun in a sadictic kind of way. If you like torturing yourself with constant losses as you try to decypher how can you die less and even imagine yourself winning, then this is the mod for you.
I loved this mod because the Impossible difficulty on vanilla was too boring for me. I don't like that spam spawn points with nades kind of gaming experience. In Long War you can actually combat against you opposition without feeling being cheated.
In vanilla XCOM the odds are obviously stacked against you in above-Normal difficulties. Your men suck but the enemies get a aim bonus which fucks up the whole fun of active combat. Long War tweaks that active combat experience and turns the odds from logically impossible to somewhat plausible. This was the mod for me because of that reason alone. I love vanilla XCOM:EW but never wanted to play in Impossible because of the clearly unbalanced gameplay. Long War is really unfair in many instances but it also gives you a chance to fight against those impossible odds.
Still it requires patience and observance. And when you manage to actually win a hard mission you get an amazing sensation of accomplishment. So there's that.
Here is a list of changes and things I've noticed on my second playthrough. I totally fucked it up in the first one so I had to start again.
These would only be useful to you if you are a sucker like me. If you are one of them grenade spamming pros this guide is totally shit.
Overwatch has better accuracy than shooting. Shooting and stabilizing weapon is crap.
Shooting is literally useless, only do it if you can't overwatch. There is a mechanic called Stabilizing Weapon, which is supposedly increases your aim if you spend one turn in waiting. This is completely bullshit and only increases your aim minorly.
Rockets and Grenades(especially AP-nades) are a MUST.
You need Rocketeer class for rockets and Engineers for nades. Take AP-nades and keep in mind that grenades lose their damage from range and obstacles.
Don't bother with grenades unless your can throw them directly at someone. Explosive damage is relative to distance and cover, so your simple frag nade might do 0 damage and at best it will do 3. 1-2 is normal. So don't count on explosive auto-kills. It's nearly impossible to kill more than one XRAYs with a single grenade(They need to stick close to one another, which they probably don't).
Rocketeers can get an extra rocket from the inventory, which gives you 2 rockets per combat but it reduces their mobility. Engineers can carry up-to 4 nades of your choice per combat.
Get AP-nades, rest are crap.
Even the sectoid has better aim than you. Everyone has better aim than you.
Keep in mind that everyone else has better aim than you. So don't think "I can take that sectoid on.", you will die if you get cocky and rush over to your enemies.
They will kill you in low cover. And they will probably kill you in high cover. Taking low cover means your soldier is dead. Taking high cover means, you may survive if the XCOM gods are good.
Ignore all the statistics.
Once an XRAY killed my gal with 9% chance on shooting. Statistics are merely a hint, don't trust them.
In vanilla if you raged because you missed a 85% shoot, then prepare yourself for missing every 85% shoot. Even if you get something like 60%, keep in mind that the game is lying. Consult to the chart below for shooting chances.
<30% = Don't even bother shooting
40% = 5%
50% = 5%
60% = Maybe, just maybe you can hit that XRAY
85% = There is a good chance that you will hit but don't get upset if you miss, you probably will miss
100% = You will hit but you need to be close for this one, close as in 1 square close
Tentacle Rape Monster(TRM) instantly kills soldiers in the second turn it strangles.
Remember that grey rape monster that strangles your soldiers? It was pretty useless in vanilla but here they are a pain in the ass. Keep in mind that if you don't dislodge the TRM from your soldier she is dead. Once your soldier gets strangled you need to dislodge the TRM in 1 turn or you're dead.
Outsiders have genetic powers.
Remember that UFO monster with a crystal in his guts, that's called Outsider. And yes, they have lost of skills in LW. Usually it is not possible for you to kill one in the early game so don't even bother attacking downed UFOs. I managed to kill 2 with nade and rocket spam but that was only once. So ignore downed UFOs in early game. Don't think they are free stuff like back in vanilla.
Outsiders have jumping ability that allows him to jump on roofs, whatever that is called. They have amazing aim(It means your soldiers in low cover is instantly dead). They also have lots of HP(10 or so) and they regenerate 3HP per turn. Welcome to Long War.
You can't down UFOs anymore, they're super powerful.
You remember those big cargo UFOs you encounter in the late-game? Well they come in the first few days now and even the small UFOs can bring down 2-3 crafts.
You get to choose three interception options for your craft before launch.
DEF: Defense, Think of this as having high cover, your craft gets shot let's say...one every three shots.
BAL: Balance, This is the low cover equivalent, your craft gets shot every 2 shots.
AGR: Agressive, This is no cover, you get shot everyturn. If the UFO is strong it could down you in 2 shots.
Usually go for DEF and sometimes BAL. Don't bother with AGR.
Sometimes don't even bother intercepting and don't think you can down even the smallest UFO with one craft.
Research system is changed, it's expensive and takes longer to accomplish each project.
Even if you win the missions you would not get much parts to research(weapon fragments etc.), so the chances are you would be short on resources to start the research. Also don't give away any resources to the countries, you gonna need them later on.
Autopsies cost 10 corpses, not 1 like in vanilla.
A nice little change that will make you red raging.
Money and every other resource is scarce so choose wisely, don't spend on useless stuff.
List of useless stuff:
Attack craft(don't go buying 1 craft and expect it do down any UFOs, buy them if you're rich.)
SHIV is god now.
It moves fast, it is durable, it won't get hit as much as your soldiers. It can equip items, it can supress several enemies with an item. It's an amazing scout and flanker. It a fucking life saver. You better have 1-2 SHIVs if you hate them and have 3-4 SHIVS if you love them. However XRAYs will target your SHIV in every chance they get and will kill it mercilessly if you don't protect it.
Aliens are better than you in every aspect.
All aliens have more HP and combined with their defense they are less easier to kill. Forget about 1-shot kills you get in vanilla XCOM. You will do 2-4 dmg on average even if you managed to hit.
There are three ways to get kills without wasting the resources(ie. explosives);
1:Outflank an enemy, this will get you a "most of the time certain" kill if you are in short range, a "probably" kill if in mid-range and a "probably" kill if long range.
2:Overwatch. Overwatch has more kill potential than mere shooting, however it is always a wild card. Overwatch is really random and gets effected by many parameters but OW is the most common way you will get kills. In short range OW usually hits but whether it kills is not certain(Don't expect it to). In mid-range it might hit and might kill but you better pray.
3:Shooting. Don't even bother, shooting is worthless and only do it if you feel lucky. You will never get anything better than 50% which actually means 5%.
AI is cleverer, so it will outflank you if it can(Which means your guy is dead).
AI will outflank, use supressive skills, use AOE skills and generally fuck the shit out of you.
EXALT missions are horrible.
You get a squad cap reduction for EXALT missions which means you go against 10+ EXALT operatives with 4 guys. You can fix that somewhat with second wave options, see below for second wave options.
Also EXALT goes after your operative. They specifically hunt down your defenseless operative and kill her in relay hack missions. I have no idea how to keep the operative alive. She is usually planted directly in the middle of enemy territory and EXALT targets her despite being seen.
I have no idea why the modders decided that you should have less people to fight against EXALT.
Here is a list for each alien I encountered:
Sectoid: Good aim, will use psychic powers(mind fray and psy-panic). Can supress.
Thin Man: Has good aim. Will kill you if you're in low cover. Will outflank you since they can run long distances. Instead of Poison they use Acid, which reduces your aim and explosive use distance(rockets and nades). Also uses supression and jumps to roofs.
Floaters: Floaters come in large packs and outflank you in every chance.
Seekers(TRM): Not dangerous if deterred via overwatch, close range shooting and explosives, usually causes havoc among the ranks if you're hard pressed with other XRAYs. Otherwise not much of a problem, if you're careful that is.
Chryssalid: These bugs are gonna murder you. They are fast, have 8+ HP and 1-shot your soldiers in melee(And cum in their mouth to make zombies). So you either overwatch them like crazy and explode them with dets, or die.
Muton: Mutons will kill you in low cover and are tough as fuck.
Cyberdisc: Cyberdisks will kill you in all cover. Every turn means you lose 1 soldier.
I haven't seen any other XRAYs yet but even these will give you a hint about what the fuck are you going to encounter.
Changes in weaponry:
There are several different type of weapons to choose from. They usually modify mobility, aim and critical chance.
Here is general descriptions for primary weapons.
SMGs: Most compact type primary weapon, gives mobility, no critical chance. Beh.
Carbines: Second compact type primary weapon, gives little mobility, gives little crit chance. Meh.
Combat rifles: Normal rifle, the logical choice. No mobility modification, normal crit chance.
Battle rifles: More powerful than combat rifle but has penalty on aim if moved. -1 Mobility, more damage, normal crit chance. Use if you aren't going to move much.
Shotguns: Who the fuck cares, you can't get close to the XRAY fuckers without getting killed.
Marksman & Sniper Rifles: Honestly I love snipers but found that they suck at Long War, because your snipers always get shitty chances. The cool thing is that you can combine sniper and squadsight and can shoot at really long ranges but I usually get stuck in a certain area and don't have much chance to spread the squad. Take if you like but don't expect your sniper to kill one XRAY everyturn like in vanilla XCOM.
SAW & LMG: USE SAW.
When choosing weapons you need to keep a balance between mobility, damage and skills. For instance if you get Move or Shoot kind of weapon with high damage you will get fucked over in bomb missions or other missions where you need to dash and fire. So don't think "The biggest damage is da best.".
In vanilla XCOM once you research laser weaponry you get good weapons that can kill enemies. This is not the case with Long War laser. LW laser weapons are slightly powerful and give aim bonus. Which is almost redundant but you get what you can. We are talking about 2-3 dmg and +6 aim. Not much.
Item Damage or Lost:
Items in LW gets damaged or destroyed. If your SHIV gets damaged items on it might be damaged. If you leave operatives and SHIV behind, items on them might be lost (ie. aborting mission).
Here is the description from wiki:
If a soldier was reduced to 0 health, there's a 20~95% chance for the item to become damaged depending on each item value.
Here is the one for losing items:
There is a 50% chance to recover gear from MIA soldiers and 100% from dead soldiers when mission is won.
So when your people get hit their items might get damaged. And you might lose items when you leave people behind.
|Too bad twister, should have read the amazing guide of Lambdagod on this amazing blog before you play.|
Don't bother with special missions:
Remember that fishing town mission with bugs coming out from everywhere? Don't even bother playing it. Also don't try to recruit that asian guy, I managed to win that mission but let me tell you, you get attacked by 25 or so Thin Men. And Thin Men is better than your soldiers. They use acid and diminish your already sucking aim. I managed to counter the waves via overwatch and explosive and shit tons of luck. Then I took the sideway, overwatching the entire way through. It really feels amazing when you win a mission like that.
SECOND FREAKING WAVE OPTIONS
If you are a loser like me that cannot play in the hardcorest mode ever, then turn these on when you start a game.
Your interceptors are significantly more accurate during air combat.
With this option your chances of downing a UFO rises from 1% to 2%. Enjoy.
You will see enemy to-hit values.
Needed to learn about the game mechanics without have to read those stupid forums. Fuck reading.
We Are Legion:
Start with the two squad size increases already developed.
Four XCOM Operatives vs. Twenty EXALT Operatives doesn't seem fair to me.
XCOM units are significantly more accurate during tactical combat.
A.K.A. "Pussy lambdagod can't play this mod" option. Select to increase your amazing aim from 10% to 20%.