So I'm late. No surprise there.
First, Tygan does some of his magic. Resistance comms are hidden among alien comms using their network. At least one the reasons why this works hasn't yet been encountered, but I'll point it out when it comes.
The ADVENT Officer informs you to pucker up.
Huh. We appear to have jacked into his brain. That's not disturbing in the least.
So he had an implant too.
Wait, wait. I'm the asshole?
Although those HLPX-COM playthroughs I did the first time were just helping the aliens against Earth's militaries and the Resistance? Awwww, man....
Well, at least they don't have access to my tactical genius anymore.
I have one word for you, just one word HLPer! PSIONICS!
But how to get in? Well, uh...hack a live ADVENT Officer. That doesn't sound possibly suicidal at all.
You get a little cutscene every time you make contact with a new region's resistance. Here, the Skyranger arrives in Northern Russia.
Rather than delivering a strike squad, though, it's bringing this one guy as an envoy. Whoever this guy is, he's going to have an amazing
book to write when this is all over, because he's the one guy, alone
, who somehow successfully negotiates with every resistance group on the planet
to sign on with XCOM. You could make an argument that this dude is one the real heroes of the game.
Intense negotiations ensue. Or something. But once we have deployed this guy, the local Resistance will
join us. He's unstoppable. I like to think of this as penance for Enemy Unknown and TFTD's unstoppable Alien Infiltrations.
The month ticks over. I have a weird sensation that XCOM 2 months aren't the right length, they seem to average only 20-some days.
Now, let's talk about game mechanics again. This tells us what the Aliens are up to lately in a strategic sense You get a certain number of these per month, it goes up, and you can only counter one per month; though I have noticed you don't necessarily get hit with all the others. They take some time to complete.
These two are self-explanatory. However, I'll give you a complete list along with my assessment of how much each actually matters. All of them last for one month.
ADVENT Alloy Padding - Adds Health, or Armor, to ADVENT units. Unwelcome, but manageable.
ADVENT Midnight Raids - Resistance recruits cost you twice as much. Could be nothing if you're getting people in via missions. Could be crippling if you need to recruit people through the Resistance.
Hunt XCOM - UFO is added to the world map that looks for the Avenger. If you stay on the ground while it's in the area it usually won't find you right away. That said they seem to proc on percentage chance to find a grounded Avenger; if this goes on long enough it will suddenly zip in from other side of the world. Then you fight a mission about it. How problematic this is depends on your skill at that mission.
Resistance Informant - Reduces the Retaliation Counter by 2 weeks. Could be bad or even actually good, depending on how skilled you are at Retaliation missions. Personally I think it's free money.
Rapid Response - At least one Reinforcements spawn on all Guerilla Ops that month. Could be annoying, but mostly doesn't matter.
Alien Infiltrator - SPOILERS! Expect to get ambushed. We'll talk about this later!
ADVENT Rural Checkpoints - Supply drops, your monthly income, are reduced by 50%. On scale of 1-10 for how bad things are, this one is at Prepare Your Anus. Most damaging event by far.
Alien Cyphers - Intel costs for actions that require it (revealing hidden Dark Events, contacting regions, buying from the Black Market) are doubled. A pain, but usually one that can be survived.
Avatar Project Minor Breakthrough - Increment the Doom Tracker by 1. Worth disrupting unless you've got a pressing reason for another.
Avatar Project Major Breakthrough - Increment the Doom Tracker by 2. Always worth disrupting. Pretty much only Rural Checkpoints is worse.
Infestation: SPOILERS! They came through the walls! They came through the goddamn walls!
Viper Rounds: Alien units get poisoned shots. Could be meh. Could be really bad. Depends on your skill at missions.
Construction: Completion of an Alien Facility. Could be bad; could help you reduce the Doom Counter.
Vigilance: Increases the detection radius of enemy units. Who gives a crap?
Show of Force: ADVENT tries to show they're a force by force, adding more enemies to missions. Again, depends on chance and your skill at the tactical game.
And now, MORE GAME MECHANICS. Retaliation replaces the old Terror missions; ADVENT mounts a direct attack on the Resistance in one of its hidden havens. You must stop them and rescue people. Succeed, and you will actually be rewarded with improved income. Fail, and you lose income.
Operation Precious Omen
6:30 Local Time
Present: StarSlayer, Gortef, Fishguts, Ckid
On Retaliation Missions, concealment is not a factor. Everyone came in loud. Sort of. Due to the Corporal-level skill StarSlayer has, he gets to be concealed even when the rest of the squad isn't, though the usual rules to what breaks it apply.
Meet the ADVENT Stun Lancer. They carry a rifle, like other ADVENT soldiers, but rarely use it. Their primary weapon is a stunstick that can knock your units unconscious (pain in the rear) or disorient them. (Sounds like X-COM 1 and 2, yes?) ADVENT originally used them for non-lethal crowd control, back when civil disobedience was more common than armed resistance. Now though they just stick you with 10000 volts because they like to watch you jerk.
Ckid and Gortef both fire overwatch against its companion Sectoid, but only Gortef hits with a pistol shot.
Then the Sectoid mind-controls Ckid.
The Stun Lancer takes a swing at Fishguts, but misses.
Gortef misses the Sectoid. It was a low-probability shot at 39% but it would have helped a lot if he'd hit.
Fishguts blows the hell out of the Stun Lancer and receives goodies for his work.
StarSlayer, who was forward scouting runs back to meet up with the rest of the squad but doesn't have a good shot at anything except Ckid, and I'm not eager to blow the hell out of Ckid. Unfortunately, Ckid is quite eager to blow the hell out of Fishguts. Fortunately, Ckid misses.
Still mind-controlling Ckid, the Sectoid also psy-reanimates the corpse of the Stun Lancer. BRAAAAAINNNS.
Gortef ain't playing in no zombie movie. The corpse becomes a corpse again.
StarSlayer informs the Sectoid to let go of Ckid's brain.
We push up a bit rescuing civilians, and then A CHAR
Fishguts throws a grenade at the Officer, but his cover remains marginally intact.
Ckid blasts the Stun Lancer with a critical hit.
Gortef, you are the worst sniper ever. (Again, low probability shot.) We need to get you some upgrades.
Fishguts runs up to flank the Officer and kills it. Hurray! We win!
Remember that "Infiltration" Dark Event? This is the infiltrator. The Faceless are melee-only, large gelatinous creatures that can pose as civilians. They are revealed when no enemies remain on the map besides Faceless, or when you move near them. There are also tools and skills that can do so, but we don't have any.
Ckid hurts it, but it's too tough, or its biology just too bizarre, to be stopped with a rifle burst alone.
StarSlayer lays it out with a shotgun blast right after, though. Ugly fella, ain't he?
Mission success. MVP: StarSlayer, again.