This could be the last part (Its not…). I actually don’t know. I thought the last two would, but it was much more than I could slam down in the limited time I had available. Lets see what I can do to knock this out today.
Remember, Plenty of Spoilers after this!
This time, I am going to take a look at building, Training and equipping soldiers. I went over the Tactical part of the game in a different post, and may touch on it a little, but we will see.
Edit: Huh. Looks like I have a LOT more to go. Took my whole time writing up one class! Look for 4 more. Looks like I’ve got a ton of work to do to sum up the game!
There are 4 soldier classes in the game, each with their own pair of sub classes, effectively giving us 8 different specializations. There is also the Psionic Operative, but that class is not readily available without a significant investment, having researched Alien Biotech, Sectoid Autopsy, Psionics, and then built the Psionic Facility, Including having cleared out the space and have built enough power to energize it. It is not so much a class as a reward.
Additionally, each Soldier can unlock a special cross-class ability once the AWC exists. This ability is available at a level determined when the AWC goes online, and cannot be changed, even if that level has already passed. This means that you want to get one up and running as soon as you can to get the most of your bonus abilities, as they do not take a slot otherwise reserved for your class skills.
This class has two roles: Heavy weapon and Explosion.
Launch Grenade – A solid ability, and you can’t get around not having it. I’d train these guys early and often, their grenades, even at starting level, can make the difference between winning a mission and loosing. They do guaranteed damage, simplifying the math of further activations, and they can destroy cover. Destroying cover has two main effects. The first one is easy and noticeable: The Target is easier to hit and can now be flanked, increasing the crit chance significantly as well. This will become a theme with my choices. Additionally, it forces many enemies to move, finding cover in order to not be shot while flanked again, leading them to spend at least one action moving. This means that you can fairly confidently place soldiers on overwatch to catch an enemy moving, and that he will not be using two abilities in a turn. Both of these are extremely useful.
Blast Padding v. Shredder
This is likely the least intensive choice you will make with all of your soliders. Blast padding adds a single point of armor to your unit, while Shredder allows your Cannon to reduce enemy armor each time you connect. Balistic Cannons remove 1, Mag Canons 2, and Plasma Cannons 3. The AIM stat on the Grenadier is low enough that you’ll want to go and get an AIM PCS and a Scope, but its worth it. Combined with AP rounds and you’ll make sure your attack counts as well as having the utility to make other attacks better. The single point of armor and less explosive damage just isn’t worth it.
Demolition v. Suppression
This is one of the least inspiring decision trees. Its harder than the one above because both are equally worthless while also being genuinely, 100% perfect when they are needed. Truth be told, I’ve only ever taken Suppression. Loss of damage is just to high of a price to pay to chance destroying their cover when I can either Grenade it off the board or kill the enemy outright. No contest.
Heavy Ordinance v. Holo Targeting
This decision is a tough one. Both have their strong points. Holo Target ting provides +15 aim to successive shots no matter if you hit or not, and your team will very much appreciate the boost. However, the added destruction and/or control from a bonus grenade is massive. While I respect Holo Targeting, I’d just rather deal damage, destroy terrain and let everyone get sometimes much better than +15 aim from the enemy being out in the open. Heavy ordnance gets my vote.
Volatile Mix v Chain Shot
This set of abilities is difficult as well, but I lean towards Volatile Mix.I had Chain Shot on one character, and I never used it. Its -15 aim penalty was steep, and I wanted to guarantee damage instead of not doing damage. Chain shot sounds good, and I love Rapid Fire on Snarphooters and Assaults, but it doesn’t seem to be fitting the proposed tasks very well. Heavies are assist platforms, and this tries to turn them into damage dealers. The +2 damage to every grenade and the additional tile of AOE makes a big difference, especially with items like Flashbangs that used to do no damage but not tack on two damage. Its a bonus!
Salvo V. Hail of Bulletts
Man. This one is tough. Like both of these for different reasons. Guaranteed damage is all about what this class does, and both of these abilities are top notch for doing exactly that. Flashbang and fade is a supremely effective tactic in a bind, and double grenade or Grenade-cannon can bring low a vulnerable enemy. On the other hand, Hail of fire is a guaranteed hit. If you took Holo Targeting, This can be extremely useful vs. some of the higher defense targets later on in the game who rely on high defense instead of cover, like the Gatekeeper and the Archon. I’d say the abilities are a wash, and if you go for Hail of Bullets, make sure to grab an autoloader and an extended mag.
Saturation Fire v. Rupture
I love Saturation Fire, don’t get me wrong, but Rupture is the best ability of the class. I like to remove targets from existence, and nothing is better at performing that specific action as rupture Critical Damage. Additional Damage from following shots, and all at the cost of 3 rounds of Ammo. Its not even a cost! I’m almost always using grenades, so I often have the spare rounds, as well. I cannot say enough about Rupture. Take it ever time.
Care and Feeding
Grenadiers require little work to get correct. Give them the biggest and baddest armors you have and the most potent grenades. Swiftly autopsy a Muton to get the most out of their grenades, including the Advanced Grenade Launcher. I prefer them wearing Warden armor, as the three slots enabled them to have two plasma grenades, a flashbang, and AP rounds. Early on, before you have AP rounds feel free to put in a nanoweave vest, plated vest or stasis vest if you have on instead of the AP rounds. However, once the WAR suit is active, and you happen to get a blaster launcher or any of the experimental powered weapons, feel free to suit up, sacrificing the utility grenade to the weapons of mass destruction you now wield.
Their weaponry, though, I find I leave to last. They often are simply using their guns to shred, doing what damage they can, or more often detonating the area around the target to remove cover. The cannon should be a low priority when allocating already scare funds and resources to improving the weaponry.