XCOM: The Blogger Edition – Part 4

And the first medal of the campaign goes to…

Well, since you asked so nicely... :P

Well, since you asked so nicely… 😛

12 March, 2015

Alien activity has gone quiet for the moment.

The wounded rest and heal up in the infirmary…

At least it's not a tally of the dead... Yet.

At least it’s not a tally of the dead… Yet.

…while the XCOM Commander has a bit of time to do some base housekeeping.

xcom_m4_housekeeping

Mostly scraping up as many satellites as the miniscule budget allows.

The scientists are put to work researching the strange alien materials – given how devastating the aliens’ plasma weapons appear to be, the Commander has deemed any kind of additional armor to be a priority.

xcom_m4_workshop

The engineers are delighted when the first workshop is constructed, giving them more room and additional manpower.

22 March 2015

5.03am

Ten days later, the peaceful industry is shattered by sirens indicating alien abductions across the globe.

This time, there are three of them occurring in sync, as if the aliens have coordinated this on purpose.

xcom_m4_choice

XCOM only has sufficient manpower to respond to one of them.

Fortunately, panic levels are low in all three countries suffering from abductions, so the Commander makes an executive decision to go for what the base currently needs more of. Scientists.

xcom_m4_briefing

Operation Rotting Engine will send the squad to Baltimore, on a simple ‘eliminate anything extraterrestial’ mission.

xcom_m4_squad2

From left to right, Corporal Izlain with a medikit, Squaddie Bhagpuss with a nanofiber vest (+2 health), Squaddie J3w3l with a nanofiber vest and Squaddie Jeromai Wolf with a frag grenade.

The team almost immediately stumbles on a pair of aliens as Sq. J3w3l walks up to inspect the first building.

xcom_m4_01

Sq. Wolf moves up to cover Sq. J3w3l, trying not to look too hard at the strange green residue of an abducted civilian right next to him,

xcom_m4_02

but quickly realizes that they’re way too far away to hit with a shotgun, or a grenade.

xcom_m4_03

7% chance to hit is fairly ridiculous, so he goes into Overwatch instead, in case they venture nearer.

xcom_m4_04

The aliens do their trademark Mind Merge, and the linked alien takes a shot at Sq. J3w3l, critical hitting for 4 damage!

Cpl. Izlain moves up then, but isn’t in a good position to shoot the originator of the link.

xcom_m4_05

 

Whatever, there’s still a free target to riddle with bullets, at a 68% chance to hit.

xcom_m4_06

His aim stays true. It’s blown away for 4 damage. So much for the Mind Merge.

Sq. J3w3l has 4 points of health left, and is looking for some payback.

xcom_m4_07

63% chance to hit, 25% chance to critical…

xcom_m4_08

… takes it out with plenty of damage to spare, even without a critical.

Sq. Bhagpuss meanwhile has been advancing up on the right flank, along the street, and interrupts a pair of aliens leaning over a cocooned civilian.

xcom_m4_09

They look up, chitter with alarm and scamper off, annoyingly out of range.

xcom_m4_10

There’s not enough cover for Sq. Bhagpuss to advance and shoot, nor does it seem advisable for him to dash up alone into what lies beyond.

He -is- sporting a rocket launcher, but the range isn’t right just yet. They’re just narrowly out of reach. So he goes into Overwatch.

Then the aliens advance, having Mind Merged, and the front one takes a shot at Sq. J3w3l.

xcom_m4_11

It misses.

xcom_m4_12

Now, this is what Sq. Bhagpuss has been waiting for.

It’s the absolute maximum range of the rocket launcher, and it’s a little dubious whether the second alien will be caught in the blast radius… but well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

xcom_m4_13

With a wing and a prayer, the rocket speeds on its way.

xcom_m4_14

If only Sq. Syl were here to see this…

It’s with some surprise that the squad searches the rest of the area and finds no other aliens.

xcom_m4_15

Well, that was quick.

Operation Rotting Engine is an unqualified success.

4 aliens killed.

0 XCOM operatives lost.

2 of 2 Meld canisters recovered.

xcom_m4_aar

The after action report: Sq. J3w3l’s wounds will take 8 days to heal.

Cpl. Izlain has been promoted to Sergeant, and has gained a nickname of “Pox.”

(Feel free to post in the comments if you think any soldier needs to be given a better nickname, in the days ahead.)

xcom_m4_medal

And we even unlocked a new medal!

Urban Combat Badge. Bleh. Boring.

xcom_m4_16

This is a lot less boring. And look, it gives +5 defence when in cover.

The benefits of firsthand experience, I suppose. Always make sure to hide -all- body parts when taking cover.

I’m sure you all know who gets the first of this batch…

xcom_m4_takenone

Back at the XCOM base, industry and expansion continues over the course of the coming week.

xcom_m5_events

Research scientists reach a breakthrough by mapping the aliens’ genome using one of the dead specimens recovered.

The bad news is, Dr Vahlen doesn’t hesitate to inform us, that they’ve hit a limit to what else they can learn from the aliens without a live specimen.

xcom_m5_alive

Catching one will involve getting up close and personal, with a device that can stun it with arcs of electricity. The squad may have to take bigger risks soon.

xcom_m5_capture

But not just yet. Preparations have to be made. A secure area to contain any alien captives is essential, and the Commander dryly points out to Dr Vahlen and Dr Shen that the XCOM project has already allocated nearly all of this month’s budget. All available space is already being put to good use, and excavating new areas takes money. Having enough power to keep the base running takes money. Have they noticed the brownouts currently taking place until the new power generator is finished, for instance? Manufacturing Arc Throwers takes money.

Plans for next month’s budget have already been put into place. A Cybernetics Lab and Genetics Lab are both exceedingly promising new technologies to be taken advantage of, and something has to be done regarding all those Meld canisters stacking up in the storage warehouses.

It will all have to wait until the following month’s budget, assuming XCOM doesn’t stumble across a rich billionaire and receive a lucky largesse.

xcom_m5_power

Two days later, the new power generator comes online without a hitch.

xcom_m5_councilreport

The Council Report was fairly positive as well.

xcom_m5_cybernetics

And then the Cybernetics Lab opens, something the Commander was eagerly awaiting…

(The initial plan was to build both a Cybernetics Lab (for making mechanized troopers that use mech-like suits) and a Genetics Lab (for gene mods that give normal soldiers more advantages) and then ask if bloggers and readers had any preferences or distinct dislikes for being a badass mech or getting genetically augmented. That still stands, so feel free to leave any wishes in the comments that I’ll try my best to fulfill, budget and my own game needs coming first, of course.

Turns out that I was so eager to play with this new Enemy Within addition that I started looking at my barracks list and found a spare unnamed soldier from the tutorial that already had been assigned a role. (You can only turn soldiers that have roles into MEC troopers, not rookies.)

Naturally, I couldn’t resist tossing this guy in to try out my new toy.

Back to the story…)

… A brave volunteer chooses to undergo the procedure.

xcom_m5_augmenting

Which involves amputating all limbs and replacing them with cybernetic implants that can interface with Mechanized Exoskeleton Cybersuits (or MEC suits.)

xcom_m5_cybernetics2

When not actively in combat, the soldier makes do with simpler robotic prosthetic limbs, doubtless less flexible and with less range of motion than his or her previously human limbs, but it’s a sacrifice made to be able to don a MEC suit and become something formidable in the fight against the aliens.

xcom_m5_othnieltcs

Of course, after that, I had to name my new MEC trooper.

Coming up next, we put the MEC suit through its paces and at least one soldier hears Death knocking on their door in the roughest battle to date.

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5 thoughts on “XCOM: The Blogger Edition – Part 4

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I’d do the Muttley snicker if I had any idea how to spell it. Oh, how proud I am!

  2. othnieltcs says:

    Woohoo! Now THAT’S making an entrance in style!

  3. Izlain says:

    So my nickname essentially leads people to believe I’m diseased. Can it be an STD instead? At least then I’m getting lucky! lol Seriously though, I have terrible luck in real life, so “Bad luck” would be an appropriate nickname. 😀

    • othnieltcs says:

      Not that it’s a whole lot better… but I assumed the nickname meant you were like a deadly disease to your enemies – the aliens. But something like “scourge” is probably a more complimentary way to convey the same general idea 🙂

      • Izlain says:

        I’m sure that’s what they were going for, but I instantly felt like it was a name J3w3l gave me to poke fun lol. I can own up to “Bad Luck” though 😀

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