The Long War

1 08 2014

If you still see me pop up on your feeds now and then, you probably are aware of at least two things about Thade.

1. Thade just got married; there is now a Ms. Thade.

2. Thade loves XCOM.

XCOM:EU was nearly the perfect game, improved dramatically by the EW expansion.  Often people ask me a question about XCOM, which is “Have you tried the Long War mod?” Only as of last night can I say “Yes.”

I had very little interest in using any mods because 1. I was really enjoying the core game and 2. XCOM’s mods tend to be pretty high maintenance…but now that we’re late in EW’s dev cycle (i.e. patches will be rare) and this particular mod comes with an installer, the barriers to my trying it out had evaporated.

Thade! You’re like a software programmer guy, right? Why would high maintenance deter you?

I don’t like to mix work with play. Seriously, when I get home, I just want to play. But, I’m about to break that rule too, as I’ve been reading up on how to set up customized default armor skins for my troopers, so they hit the ground looking snazzy, and I don’t need to manually adjust them after the first mission. LW gives us 24 operatives to start (as opposed to 14) so doing it manually is getting annoying.

Long War is amazing. There is a non-zero chance I’ll Youtube a bit of my yapping about it (you know, for the two of you that still know I exist) but you can skip the wait for me and watch the truly brilliant Cmdr. Beagle tear through Xenos like it’s his job. (Because, right now, it kind of is.)

Wait. You got married. How was that?

Epic, thanks for asking. 🙂 I even Rick-rolled my own wedding. It went over well. Also, we went to Kauai for a week; it was incredible. Go.

Are you still playing Wildstar?

Yes, but it’s taken a sullen back seat to the glory that is XCOM: War Within. I got to run a bit of an instance last night with two of my friends, right up until the point that it bugged out and we couldn’t proceed anymore. Early MMOs…what you gonna do? My feelings haven’t changed but they’ve tempered; especially with this new life breathed into XCOM. I should say that they really enjoy it and are urging me to stick with it…and I understand that it all is supposed to open up post level-20…and I’m lv16 now. I’ll give it a while longer, maybe a few more instances before I make another call.

Also, I drifted away from Dark Souls 2 without completing it…but it was amazing. I recommend that game, if, you know, you’re like me and you live for Ironman mode in XCOM.

Will you ever live-stream XCOM?

Nah. Well. Maybe. Will you watch me?


I’m glad we had this talk.



3 10 2013

Pre-order for XCOM:EW is up. Make no mistake, I fully support TB’s view on pre-ordering games. It’s a sign of impatience and totally unnecessary; bad even, since you can’t guarantee the game will deliver on expectations. (E.G. Aliens: Colonial Marines.) That said, I Kickstarted (pre-ordered) Torment, and I pre-ordered XCOM:EU. I believe in the Interplay-in-Exile team. And I believe in Firaxis.

My money is now where my mouth is.


This has been a Youtube-tastic weekend.

29 09 2013

Okay, so…this finally happened.

Also, more Don’t Starve.

And a really silly whim.

If none of these are good, it may be a sign that I shouldn’t do more than one in a weekend.

New XCOM Enemy Within Achievements suggest base defense and human enemies.

13 09 2013

It’s not for sure, but…well, see for yourself. There are achievements for killing enemy medics and snipers, which may describe roles for aliens and not humans…but what do you make of it? Or the Zom-B-Gone achievement?

Elite Defense and All Hands on Deck really sound like some form of base defense; maybe your Interceptor launch stations can be located and come under fire in EW.

My personal favorite is Guardian of Earth. “Designate a highly decorated soldier….” Decorated, eh? Like, with medals and accolades? I can give my soldiers medals?

Oh, and the aliens were having a mud party which I needed to shut down.

So, this happened.

11 09 2013

Enemy Within Mah Brainz

21 08 2013

This video shows some really cool stuff off. In particular, what I shall call The Punch at like 4:19.

Here’s a big IGN article, and here’s a big Kotaku article. There’s a lot more,  like RPS…just hit the Google for “xcom enemy within”.

My excitement is pretty unbounded here. Gene mods and mechanized armor are very welcome additions to the game, as are freakin’ power armored sectoids. I’m also excited to see they’ve rebalanced some of the no-brainer class abilities: for instance, a stiff nerf to Squad Sight preventing you from scoring a critical when  using it vs. the Sniper’s move-and-shoot ability’s aim penalty is cut in half to balance it out. Melee combat?! Yes, please. And the flame thrower looks delicious.

There’s one thing I haven’t yet seen mentioned or asked about, and it’s odd because I feel like that question is really begged for here. There are now even more options for soldier builds, and already my strike team roster for any deployment is very tight…at six soldiers. So, do I get to bring more operatives out to the field? Say, eight?

I hope so.

My reintroduction to Ironman Impossible last night went as well as you might expect for my time off, though maybe worse than I expected: I very easily cruised through that Classic Marathon game, only losing maybe four or five soldiers and brushing aside the opposition. Impossible is significantly harder. I lose one operative a mission, on average. It’s so easy to trigger a cascade of alien packs, and their fire is pretty withering, even when I’m hunkered down. It’s hard and fun in the way Classic mode was when I first got into it…even if I have lost both Bomb Missions I’ve tried so far, losing my entire team in the process of trying to save the city. That’s XCOM, baby. That is, in fact, XCOM.

I’m also a bit saddened/surprised to not see Jake Solomon’s name attached to this; the lead designer is Ananda Gupta. Don’t get me wrong, what little I’ve seen so far of XCOM:EW looks fantastic…but I gained a lot of respect for Solomon and I wanted him to continue tending to his baby. “Jake Solomon’s XCOM.”

We gotta wait until November for this. It’s going to feel like a long wait. But I have XCOM:EU and Minecraft to keep me company in the meantime.

XCOM and bugs.

27 01 2013

I’ve started and stopped writing several articles with this core thesis in mind (“regarding XCOM and bugs”) but have discarded every draft up until this one. (That is, of course, unless I also discard this one.)

I have played a good chunk of XCOM over the past two weeks, and I’ve weathered more than a few teleport bugs that I kind of wish I’d caught on FRAPS. When not one but two Sectopods (the very large walking mechs) teleport into the midst of your team and you punish them for their insolence it’s a good time. In contrast, when a team of Thinmen beam into your squad of rookies and decimate you, you really just need to reload or even step away for a little while.

Not only do aliens teleport at times, but I’ve seen alien patrols activate from across the map with no LOS to them, totally obscured by walls and Fog of War, but sometimes when aliens activate the legit way, they teleport-swap places with another squad of aliens, or many patrols just teleport to them. Things can go bad very, very fast.

I roll with it as often as I can, but while I’ve played nearly two Classic games to completion over these past two weeks, I haven’t posted a single mission to Youtube…and time constraints are not the whole reason. Frankly, the game is more fun when it works as intended, and my former game (of which I still have a lot of uncut footage) is now two (soon three) patches behind. It’s lacking in super cool hats and several fixes that may not work with an old game save. Also, I forgot to hit the Capture button on the first Terror Mission, which I was just going to roll with…but instead I think I’ll start a new mission to share with you all. One with sweet hats and all of the skills I’ve learned when dealing with teleporting Sectopods.

Despite the bugs, XCOM is one of the best games I have ever played. The game design is spectacular; so much so that my appreciation for their rebuilding it so many times far exceeds my frustration with how little time that left the developers to code the game itself. I hesitate to recommend a purchase right now, if only because teleporting aliens is really zero fun for a beginning player. Jake Solomon (on his Twitter) said that they’re pushing through a fix right now. Here’s hoping that means this week.

The sooner I can recommend you buy this incredible game, the better. Then we can play XCOM together.

I’ve also heard a rumor that they’ve scrapped the second DLC due to the bad response from Slingshot. This is fantastic if it means that future DLCs will be more about soldier customization options, maps, and mission types, and less about Special Named Characters (a.k.a. the shit that is corrupting Warhammer 40k).