Tag Archives: Xenonauts

Ranonauts 68 – Operation Endgame

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It is over, it is finally over. Xenonauts diverges pretty significantly from X-COM at the end. The aliens were just playing with us, as interstellar empire the resources they have at their disposal far outweigh what feeble resistance we can muster. Even if we did manage to beat their small fleet they had a backup plan that had to be countered to claim victory. I love their backup plan; it is as simple as it is diabolical. Just use the Reapers a vast numbers, initiate a fast zombie apocalypse on humanity and pick through the wreckage. Fortunately the Ranonauts were able to stop them, but at what cost?

This is by far the longest longest series I have done but the end here caught me a little off guard. I have a tendency in these games to reach an equilibrium and then just try to keep going building up a nice strong team for the end of the game but I couldn’t really do that here, not just because it would stretch and already long series but because I am not sure I would ultimately have gotten anywhere.

Despite a pretty clear technological advantage over my foes I was losing high level soldiers about as fast as I was generating them. It was a pretty frustrating and demoralising experience. In retrospect some of my problems likely stemmed from poor tactical decisions, I think I completely missed the tactical value of smoke grenades. In X-COM (and thus I suspect in Xenonauts) smoke is able to break line of sight and enemies don’t shoot what they cannot see, I assumed that it was just an accuracy debuff so I prioritised attempting to kill or disable the enemy instead, which was much more likely to get a soldier killed when I screwed up.

The other major weakness on the tactical level was psionics. I just could not find a good counter to psionics. It is tough to handle because psionics:

  • Doesn’t require line of sight so you cannot sneak your way around it
  • Is defended by a stat, which is only raised if the soldier is attacked by psionics
  • There is no anti-psionic gear
  • Has a range, but you have to assault ships that force you to zigzag your way up, giving the aliens plenty of opportunity to ruin your day

The obvious answer was to just try to avoid all Ceasans, meaning that story and base missions where they are unavoidable were extra dangerous (because none of my troops had practice against psionics) and then attempt to slowly grind and savescum my way past any psionic enemies.  Even Sebillions ultimately gain a psychic presence as the fight becomes important enough to get Preators involved, but at least there the psionic attacks are limited to one a turn (beyond the passive TU sapping Dread ability).

I am really looking forward to seeing how they mix things up in Xenonauts 2, I know they have say that it will not continue this storyline and will instead be set on an alternate earth with a different alien invasion which helps to move them further from the XCOM series. I hope that they will feel more free to diverge from the X-COM mold and we have a more diverse group of aliens perhaps ones that are less reliant on psychic attacks and are alien in completely different and unexpected ways.

As tempting as it is to chain straight into XCOM 2, tune in next week for a newer, much shorter series.

 

Ranonauts 47 – Regional Confusion

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There are times where I really wish that there was an undo button, or at least that I didn’t have the habit of just doubleclicking to do movement straight away. Sophie Murphy died because I accidentally clicked on the wrong side of the fence. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to have to list on a death certificate.

We got a lot of fighting done this episode, it doesn’t take much time to handle smaller ships these days even if I occasionally go and sort through the equipment and troops at the wrong base just before a mission. Ah well this series is called Ranonauts Incompetent Planetary Defence, if I don’t make a couple of mistakes per episode I am probably not doing my job correctly.

This is the last episode I edited before I finished the game, so the recruitment prompts will stop next episode.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Guila for reaching a career total of 10 kills, despite only being armed with a pistol
  • Guila for creatively weaponising a hyperdrive engine
  • Jan for napping mid-fight

The Ranonauts Project would like to extend its condolenses t the friends and family of

  • Sophie Murphy, operator error.

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 8 months and 4 days
  • lost 54 soldiers
  • killed 558 aliens in 58 ground battles
  • captured 52 aliens
  • shot down 149 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $21,589,801 in funding

Ranneko is on holidays right now and is trying to catch up on posts where possible, these are likely to keep appearing and semi-random times.

Ranonauts 46 – Sophie’s Choice

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I really hate it when the aliens decide it is time to head for the ocean, they continue to pink away at my approval scores but if I shoot them down I get nothing. It is like they know that they are flying cash and experience machines and want to deny me my small pleasures. At least now we have Fusion weaponry, the last of the instant upgrade technologies rendering our grenades, rockets and missiles all the best they can be, they appear to be roughly twice as effective as the previous tier meaning that a carrier is an easy fight for just two fresh marauders. Once South Africa is online I really doubt we have much to worry about from the alien lines.

It also seems kind of ironic that last time I was complaining that my shoot through the floor tactic was becoming ineffective because here it continued to show value, but unfortunately the two positions I most needed to shoot were the ones inaccessible using this strategy. Instead I managed to put myself in a position where I had to decide which soldier I could most lose. Maria or Uno, and given Uno was a community volunteer the choice was pretty easy. It is kind of frustrating though to realise rewatching the video just how many ways I could have avoided this problem. I didn’t need to rush in, I could have continued to fire from a distance, I could have used grenades, maybe I will learn something from this encounter.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • RebelliousUno for being chosen to live

The Ranonauts Project would like to extend its condolenses t the friends and family of

  • Maria Lazlos, she shouldn’t have been there.

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 7 months and 26 days
  • lost 53 soldiers
  • killed 540 aliens in 55 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 146 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $18,388,833 in funding

Ranneko is on holidays right now and is trying to catch up on posts where possible, these are likely to keep appearing and semi-random times.

Ranonauts 45 – Cruising with Reapers

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We are creeping our way through the tech tree for now and as a result we have finally started getting better armour but it isn’t deployed widely yet. It does make fighting reapers slightly less worrying at least they lack ranged attacks and are fairly weak compared to our firepower, it is pretty rare for even an alpha to survive a single hit from most of our weapons.

Unfortunately it does seem that the tactic of shooting through the floor has a fairly limited shelf life, it looks like slight differences in floor sizes, ship layout and default holding positions for aliens basically drastically reduce how effective it is, time to find a new strategy.
The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Guila for tanking a grenade that landed right at her feat, if only she had been able to hit the Salarian that threw it rather than the wall behind him
  • RebelliousUno for getting his Long Service Medal, I have had him running missions for quite a while now

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 7 months and 20 days
  • lost 52 soldiers
  • killed 520 aliens in 54 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 143 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $18,388,833 in funding

Ranneko is on holidays right now and is trying to catch up on posts where possible, these are likely to keep appearing and semi-random times.

Ranonauts 44 – Accidental Execution

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I am frankly amazed that there is no confirmation before shooting one of your own mind controlled soldiers. Even in a game where soldiers are a little more disposable than XCOM, it still seems like the kind of thing you want to make sure the player intended.

I am sorry Tyler Mason, but I feel that you were a victim of poor UI design at least as much as you were a victim of my own incompetence.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Alex for the instant murder of the traitorous Tyler and then looting his corpse
  • Samy, rocking the predator armour and caster for an impressive 6 kills

The Ranonauts would like to offer their condolences to the friends and family of:

  • Tyler Mason

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 7 months and 13 days
  • lost 52 soldiers
  • killed 495 aliens in 53 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 138 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $18,388,833 in funding

Ranneko is on holidays right now and is trying to catch up on posts where possible, these are likely to keep appearing and semi-random times.

Ranonauts 43 – Almost Back in Black

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Thanks to the marauder’s amazing contribution to our air superiority we have almost reached the point where our funding meets with our maintenance, all it took was shooting down a few dozen spacecraft in the course of a couple of months and suddenly they are almost all heaping praise upon us. It feels pretty good even as we continue to lean heavily upon our armour sales to allow us to manufacture the weapons and aircraft we need to keep the planet safe, maybe if we were better at the air element of Xenonauts from the very beginning many of these problems could have been avoided.

We continue to conspicuously avoid that alien fortress sitting in Russia, there are always excuses available to us. My favourite one is “Oh god, there will be so many aliens”, I will get to it eventually but not before we finish manufacturing our final tier of weapons and armour, it does not seem like the kind of place you want to go casually.

Instead we will take our not entirely equipped europe team into our first carrier fight. Those ships are big, 3 levels linked with teleporters, lots of cover and lots of enemies including some even tougher variants. They are never going to be easy or quick to deal with and worse still it looks like they are going to eventually replace almost all the lower tier ships, save for those pesky scouts. It is going to be tough to avoid losing soldiers taking them but hopefully the supplies will prove to be worth it.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Kate for the long distance save
  • Maria for taking vengeance upon the aliens that took out our departed comrades.
  • The Androns for being suprisingly sneaky for big death robots that cannot actually take cover
  • Narmio for achieving a final medal in her last mission

The Ranonauts would like to offer their condolences to the friends and family of:

  • Vebjorn Ingarson
  • Narmio

It will be hard to truly replace these losses.

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 7 months and 2 days
  • lost 51 soldiers
  • killed 469 aliens in 52 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 138 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $18,388,833 in funding

Ranonauts 42 – Blitzing Scouts

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I am so glad that the alien forces never quite eliminate scouts from their attack waves, it gives me the milk runs I kind of need to get my weaker squads levelling up while I continue to build gear to hopefully get ahead of the alien tech. Plus assaulting an alien ship nets you not only experience but generally 2-3x the cash that just airstriking it would deliver. I have to admit though it would be nice to have an autoresolve for some of these milk runs, ultimately the game provides some pretty strong incentives for doing every ground combat that you think you can survive. New soldiers are pretty cheap and money is really important so I guess it is kind of a bad sign that I am skipping so many fights that seem okay while this is happening. There are definitely tough fights on the horizon but that is all the more reason to try to train up some totally awesome soldiers into my ranks.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Narmio and Maria for finishing a mission quickly when faced with an unexpected time limit
  • The Indochina tank control team for achieving 75% of casualties in their mission

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 6 months and 31 days
  • lost 47 soldiers
  • killed 447 aliens in 51 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 132 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $15,361,425 in funding

Ranonauts 41 – Local Contributors

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I really like how Xenonauts doesn’t restrict civilians to terror missions and even more importantly has armed civilian forces that will run occasionally take down alien forces even without your help. It makes me feel like, while I am clearly using the best force to handle the aliens, that I am not alone. The native populations of the areas I am protecting will fight alongside me to protect their homes. It is an element that I can’t help but see as missing from XCOM now I have seen it here. I realise it changes the character of terror missions slightly, but not too much given that the aliens still completely outclass these local forces in almost every situation. You are still needed here, but the civilians aren’t entire defenceless either.

I hope that in Xenonauts 2 the alien forces make more use of these forces too, interactions that don’t necessarily involve killing either. It would be pretty cool if aliens exploring the map would do things like attempt to take prisoners and be seen herding subjects to their ships for purposes as yet unknown. Psionic aliens could use them too, imagine having one of the random police officers that had been wandering around fighting along side you suddenly turned on you. Forcing you to take a score/success hit in attacking him or to try to avoid him while you seek the source of the alien puppeteer.

We have started to encounter another tier of enemy ships, the new bomber, new interceptors and a carrier were all spotted this episode, though unfortunately I accidentally let the carrier wreckage expire while waiting for material to arrive from another base. That was silly.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • The local forces for dealing with almost half of the alien forces off screen while we worked our way to the scout vessel
  • Narmio for taking out as many aliens as the local forces did.

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 6 months and 20 days
  • lost 47 soldiers
  • killed 437 aliens in 49 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 119 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $15,361,425 in funding

Ranonauts 40 – Hot and Cold

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The longer this game lasts the less likely I am to let a bad roll stand, especially if I can justify it by the game being “unfair” making information unavailable or just plain bad luck. This time I have no defense, I should never have taken that shot with Vebjorn but on the other hand screw it. I don’t want to have lost some of my best soldiers in such a stupid fashion. It never happened. It also really helps that I now know and use the quicksave key fairly regularly, a similar mistake closer to the start of this campaign would require me to reload the autosave from the start of the mission and replay the whole thing which gets pretty tiring pretty quickly.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Vebjorn for an excellent use of rocketry to deal with difficult situations
  • Narmio demonstrating the extreme utility of predator armour and a nice big heavy weapon
  • Matteo for throwing a grenade into a physically impossible location and dying as a result

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 6 months and 11 days
  • lost 47 soldiers
  • killed 429 aliens in 48 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 104 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $15,361,425 in funding

Ranonauts 39 – Just Need To Not Get Uno Killed

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I really like the way that even fairly limited engagements in Xenonauts still result in some stat improvements for your soldiers, generally strength and time units, but that is what I really need. Some of my soldiers, like Uno and Narmio have survived long enough for me to become pretty attached to them. They can cover a lot of ground and still take down the aliens and I need more of these awesome soldiers as we reach the end game, unfortunately they do have a tendency to end up a little bit dead, probably because I am more likely to have them run ahead and let them get cut off from assistance when things go wrong.

Also as much as I want to finish Xenonauts at this point, there is a while to go yet, as I note in the start of the video there is another enemy and ship type that need to turn up yet, once they start showing up we will then get to do a little more research before the game is over. I think we are only at about the two thirds mark right now. At the time this episode was recorded I was definitely riding the high of progress at last, mixed with success and a fair amount of recording time as my partner was away. It lead to a nice buffer and a desire to get on with things.

The Ranonauts Project would like to congratulate:

  • Kate with the quick close range snipe of an Andron to save her own life
  • Guila with an usually well thrown grenade, better than it could have been if it hadn’t scattered
  • RebelliousUno for reaching the rank of Commander

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 6 months and 6 days
  • lost 45 soldiers
  • killed 408 aliens in 46 ground battles
  • captured 51 aliens
  • shot down 93 alien spacecraft
  • had 5 aircraft shot down
  • received $15,361,425 in funding