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Author Topic: Tips and Tricks for beating all campaings in Extreme difficulty level.  (Read 3920 times)

Cat Lady

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Lately, I've been asked about my Deadnaut tactics for extreme difficulty level. Response turned out to be quite a guide (also, exceeding maximum limit of 20 000 characters for personal message), so I decided to post it here, for everyone to benefit:
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Hi Cat Lady,

do you mind sharing some Deadnaut tactics?

Hello flyer!
Why, thank you and sure - actually, it is both surprise and pleasure that anyone is interested in my Deadnauts tactics.

Starting from the... end:

as 'extreme' is really very difficult - maybe almost impossible to beat.

Well, I agree that it is somewhat hard (and can be very hard, if RNG decide to hate you), but definitely possible:



That said, I don't even consider myself some super-awesome Deadnaut player... Albeit, this game mechanics really hit the sweet spot of gaming type that I like very much (coming from background of original X-COM: Enemy Unknown and X-Com: Terror from the Deep being one of my favorite games), so after getting used to it being played real time and not (as I expected) in turns, I must admit that everything there feels quite natural to me, and I had some time polishing best squad builds. BTW, I also started Deadnauts with playing on "Hard", but after completing my first campaign (Mutants, shamblers in this case) on it, I decided it started to be a little too easy after first mission, and switched to "Extreme".

It resulted in Horrors - obviously - kicking my ass few times in a row (with one or two losing case against xenomorphs from portals in between, but that was completely my fault of getting too hotshot in later missions), thanks to their [strike]invisible rocket launchers[/strike] blast waves, but with a side effect of getting much Deadnaut experience (personal one) in short time, and finally being able to beat it - it was rather smooth ride from now on. Obviously, Evolved/Enhanced blasted me few times too, but somehow I actually found them easier than Horrors.

So, coming back to tactics - important notice first. I always play with custom-made squads for now (which I roleplay a little, so if they get killed/cloned during successful campaign, or released to earth, I delete them and draw new recruit for squad) and I suppose that it would be *MUCH* harder with randomly generated ones. So, while most tips I'm going to give would still apply to randoms, it could be less effective, or(in rare cases) impossible to achieve with certain specialists.
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I. Squad

I've been testing various individuals (including strange ones, like Stealth types) and managed to actually finish all campaigns at least twice already, with the 2nd pass on campaigns using "experimental" (read: suboptimal, to the point that once I just skipped cloning one crew member after mission 2 and decided that it will be more worthwhile to finish it with squad of 4) builds getting finished successfully, so I've filtered out setup that works best for my playstyle. What works best for me is:

a)
  • Totally unlikable, bad vibed hacker, liking to work alone (Think "girl with a dragon tattoo" moved further to the extreme) and not minding corpses (which are often found in rooms with terminals). completely bad for fighting, so stays in the back of ship - gradually being transferred further on the ship's security system "axis" if she starts having trouble reaching squad position with her hacks. Usually, moving is only required on bigger ships, and 2-3 times at most. Her responsibility is hacking everything that needs to be hacked and keeping pesky watchers trapped somewhere away from firesquad (and friendly sentinels) at all times.
  • Xenobiolog (investigation) focused character, with just one part of career dedicated to fighting. Below average fighter, as a result.
  • Shield (protection) specialist, as a side effect being quite able fighter. Doesn't need to be very bright.
  • Signals (detection) and intuition specialist, moderately able to fight. No problem if having stability issues.
  • Field Commander of the team (Cohesion), being also most able fighter of the team.

b)

Same as above, but without dedicated xenobiolog, and hacker being one career step less good at hacking, and having investigation instead. Free slot is filled with dedicated fighter, that is maxed out for fighting. Actually, this variant works even better, but is harder to manage - you don't get clues from corpses during mission, cause your hacker wait until the ship is perfectly clean, then stimulates her/himself in wits department (getting basically maxed out investigation, anyway) and do research on the ship basically after-mission, when everything is safe, sound, and filled with [strike]unicorns and rainbows[/strike] corpses of dead, hostile alien lifeforms.

c)

If you absolutely can't manage having hacker sitting in some safe room (remember, double-tapping number key instantly bring you to appropriate Deadnaut),having hacker/xenobiolog/weak fighter combo walking with the squad all the time works too. From mission 2 onwards, you can max him/her in hacking/investigation via the use of stims, anyway, when needed.


II. Perks

1. You probably know that already, but "Attention Seeker" is basically free +10 for anyone that isn't Stealth focused. All it does, is lowering Stealth periodically (which is pathetically low anyway on everyone that isn't stealth focused) and frustrates teammates.

2. It took me a while to decipher what "Suspicion" actually does (it makes other Deadnaut unstable if he is working on duo *only* team with Deadnaut having this perk), but even before I suspected that I can safely assign it to Deadnauts that are meant to work in group all the time. Indeed, it is the case - As long as you're not splitting team into two person mini-squads, it does nothing (not even frustrates teammates), so it is another free +10 for most squaddies.

3. I discovered it only recently - in last few days, actually - but "Siphon" is actually another free +10, as you might have noticed from my other report. As long as Deadnaut having it is not left alone for extended periods, it does absolutely nothing bad, not even frustrate teammates.

4. Memory lapse, while irritating, is relatively harmless on Deadnauts that specialize in just one thing (like, combat). It *seems* to have bigger chance to hit most developed skill of said team member (or I just see RNG as biased in this regard), but it still affect other - useless, in this case - skills too, so on average, you just need to wait it out once or twice per mission. That said, I wouldn't put it on any Deadnaut that is expected to be proficient in two or mote things.

5. "Signal to noise" can be lotta hell irritating, but if you're quick with swapping signal channels booster, it can be considered (almost, due to irritating teammates) free perk - at least, in situations where your dedicated hacker keeps watchers away all/most of the time. Note, though, that I wouldn't give it to more than 2 Deadnauts (preferably just one), or you might find yourself chain-disorted, which *can* be deadly.

6. Short circuit, while sounding like potential disaster, is actually pretty harmless, too - most of the time, you *don't* want your Deadnauts to run on decreasing power supply, as it tends to run out of power in worst possible moment. As a result, having someone short-circuit from time to time just forces you to wait it out. There is small potential for real disaster though, in situations where you go through destroyed sections of ship, relying on shields specialist to Field your squad, saving from environmental damage. Also note, that it could be irritating for full beam equipped squad too, from time to time. OTOH, you can have this perk on your hacker (or stealth guy, working alone, if you're using that) as quite literal free +10.

7. Selective deafness, while disastrous, is actually pretty fun to play with, and I had it on *one* Deadnaut all the time during my 2nd pass on campaigns. Oh, the joy moments, where *after* ship is cleared of baddies and I happily investigate, my field commander decide to run somewhere and annoy odd sentinels, that in turn decapitate him (literal quote from case of death - "decapitated by sentinel"). OTOH, in most cases it just make him follow rest of the squad in harmless way, or just stay in place, forcing you to wait it out. In some cases, our comm-troubled Deadnaut can decide to investigate some corpse on his own - no harm if it is the investigation guys, a little irritating if it is someone else. Anyway, it makes it makes the game feel more "alive", with random communication problems occurring.

Side note - there is small bug that I actually forgot to report. When "selectively deaf" Deadnaut decide to go and open some random door, he may decide that it is one leading to (pre)destroyed room. While normally, you can't hack/open them - only blast, decreasing ship integrity, "deaf" Deadnaut can miraculously open them (permanently) just fine.

8. Don't take "stimpack addict" flaw. Just don't. I'll explain later.

9. The bonus from "cooperative group" is actually HUGE. It is almost like having basic +1 stimpack active for *all* stats, all the time. It won't always turn out like you expect it too, but having at least one "likeable" on all Deadnauts expected to work together have high chance of generating relationships that grant this buff.

Note, though, that getting irritated due to flaws marked earlier as "frustrates teammates" may temporally remove this buff (as it results in relationships dropping for the duration of being frustrated with someone) - albeit, I've seen relationships so good, than even frustration were not causing losing "Cooperative group" buff. Other thing that totally and *permanently* ruins positive relationships is cloning someone - there is very good chance that they won't like clone as much (or at all) like the original, so if you got relations granting buff, be extra careful not to lose anyone at any point (i know, easier said than done).

10. If, for some reason, you're not aiming at the buff from #8, there is other interesting thing: This can be risky, as it does *not* always turn out as you're expecting it, but if you have one Deadnaut that have "unlikable" spammed in every possible situation (like our mentioned working-alone hacker), it is very probably that other Deadnauts - if having just one "unlikable" - will develop bad relationships with just that former person. No problem, if she/he is meant to work alone all the time, and possible free +10 for everyone else.

Also, rarely you can see that Deadnauts having "unlikable" and forming negative relationship with the most unlikable guy, have very positive relationship between themselves. So, having "red lines" to the one unlikable guy actually "reinforces" blue lines to other people, which may result in *still* having firesquad with "cooperative..." buff, despite everyone having one "Unlikable" flaw (and hacker having lotta hell of them).

11. You probably know that too, but "stable formation" - apart from making Deadnauts travel with the speed of slowest one, aka together - grants non-negilible bonus to damage and (unconfirmed, but I got this feeling) firing speed, if they're all attacking same target. "Stable formation" is given when most of squad have stable mental state, and Deadnaut with high cohesion skill affect (positively) mental state of nearby Deadnauts. Thats why it is important to have proper "field commander" with maxed out cohesion.

12. It is always worthwhile to advance your Deadnauts all the way to (and including) Wisdom stage. It gives 2x the benefit of normal career stage for the same cost in points, so it is well worth having to pick up 3+ flaws.

13. Last but not least, try to avoid having Deadnauts with vigor 1 - they're walking and shooting pathetically slow. Usually, I don't even take it for the standing-in-one-room hacker.


III. Equipment

1. For long time, I had no idea what is the relationship between rifle and scatter gun. I expected the latter to be better at close quarters but more damaging to hull, so I usually ended up with the rifles for fighters, during my first mission.

In reality, it turned out that the scatter gun have same (or almost same) effective range as rifle, shoots a little bit slower, but indeed 3 bullets (close together) at the same time, that seem to always either hit (all three) or miss together. Result is that net damage of scatter gun of same type and power is always bigger than of rifle - but, misses (and last shoots, when someone else already killed threat) are *really* wrecking the room integrity. So, against tough targets - like slow mutants or "soldiers" - always take scatter guns, it really wrecks them.

2. Remember that suit type - shield or combat, for example - doesn't have *any* difference in protection it gives, if they're of the same level (standard/light/medium/heavy). Their only difference (in terms of stats they give) is their slots - if you have tech or weapon suit that have many (or just as much as you need) defense slots, don't hesitate to use it for shield guy.

As a result, it is often advisable to buy "medium" suit (that is often available to purchase, amongst "light" ones) before your 2nd mission, and use it for everyone (or everyone possible). Difference in penetration protection and damage reduction between levels of suits are HUGE. If in doubt, check "defense" tab of your Deadnaut, once for every suit equipped - you will see yourself.

3. Pistol with specific damage type modifier is, in most cases, better than "standard" rifle or scatter gun (that doesn't have any additional + damage). Certain medium pistols are better than most light rifles (check "attack" tab once for every item, if in doubt) - generally, better damage is more important than better penetration, especially if you're targeting damage type that enemy is not (most) resistant too.

4. Good medium/heavy axe and good pistol is combo that usually wrecks most threats (they got gunned down, and if they come close, they're finished with even more powerful axe blow). "Soldiers" are exception from that rule - they're better to take out from afar in all cases. Of course, it only applies since fixes for 1.3.1 release candidate.

5. Don't ever bother with traps, they're pathetically under-powered as of now. Unless you're for a challenging game with [strike]useless[/strike] experimental Stealth specialist, don't bother with cloaks (also, good luck with having one dedicated to the exact detection type you need hiding from). If you see a suit with 4 defense slots, consider it 0 for everyone else than field-throwing guy - lowest personal shields require 5 defense.

6. As for launchers, they *can* be useful in certain situations, and definitely may spice up gameplay and cheer you up if you manage to empty room full of threats with one shoot from medium/heavy launcher but - to face the truth - objectively speaking - they're *still* always worse than similarly priced beam, scatter gun, or even rifle. Also, the potential for SNAFU is VERY high. If I would be given a penny for every time I wanted to ping with sensors, and instead shoot point-blank rocket at the wall my squad is facing... I blame number "slots" for (order of) Deadnauts being assigned randomly for every campaign.

So, if you're up for finishing certain campaign for the first time, and not for experiments/challenge, I would say don't bother with launchers, too.

7. Beams are always best thing you can get (IF you can get them) - especially, if their damage type is not the thing that your enemy is most resistant to. It is safe and sound for the ship's hull (mostly), it tend to apply special damage effects pretty often, and overall, kicks ass. OTOH, is using stronger (and more power hungry) beams, be ready to attack, pew pew, and run for recharge. Unless you were blessed with suits having many weapon and tech slots - then give them recharters, and enjoy "unlimited powaaah!".

8. If you have suit with good defense AND tech slots, and your next tier of defense suit doesn't have tech slots, stick to the "Weaker" one, but keep rechargers. Every 10 kW of additional power mean another Deadnaut that can be constantly fielded without power pool (on shield specialist) decreasing. Having whole squad fielded all the time thanks to medium/high recharger and/or personal shields on some is blessing. Having most of the squad with BOTH personal shields AND field at the same time makes you virtually invincible (penetration and damage resistances easily maxed out for *everything*).

9. Another good use for recharger is signals specialist and his scanner. No real "powerplay" reason - it just makes mission take half the time, cause you don't need to constantly wait until his power recharge and he can send another ping. For that very reason, having to choose between giving him/her recharger or personal shield, I usually choose recharger (unless enemies are VERY hard hitting, and shield is protecting most from exactly the type of damage i need).

10. It it probably obvious, but fields/shields/sensors/scanners give quite good boost to ALL things related to them, even if they're named like "chemical shield" - note that it just means it gives additional (huge) boost to defending from "their" type of damage, but they're very good against everything else, nonetheless. If in doubt, always compare details of stats.

11. When fighting anything other than "Soldiers", be sure to always give *good* knifes (best possible) to your beam/rifle/scatter/anything wielding firesquad members. Seriously, do - while you can make yourself un-drag'able by fields, good damaging knifes are VERY handy when zergs get close.

12. Not always possible due to generated loot/items in "shop", but having at least one Deadnaut with passive slot scanner (the one that pings constantly around) is very handy for keeping Deadnauts aware of their enemies during actual fight. You've probably noted that they *don't* see enemies that are indicated by weak, periodic "blinks" - it is what you, as commander, noticed on sensors (makers of Deadnaut could, as well, be cruel and don't show them at all), your Deadnauts are unaware of them. Having passive sensor pings saves you from needing to send active ping in middle of fight, when zerg's reinforcements arrive.

13. Stimpacks are golden. They are life. Always buy best possible stimpack you can.

14. No matter what is your actual mission, always clean whole ship, take ship log (also with best "investigation" skilled Deadnaut!), and overall, maximize gains from it. *Unless* you're perfectly sure that trying to do so will get you killed, yet somehow you actually managed to finish objectives. During my ALL playthroughs, I had to abandon checking every room only once - when I had team full of scatter guns, and they were about to literally blow ship away (I pulled out at 11% total ship integrity). Even then, it was just few rooms with corpses remaining, and I had ship's log already.

To be continued... (freaking 20 000 characters limit)

Cat Lady

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IV. During Missions

1. Ping, ping, ping. Don't even enter room without having it pinged (unless, for some reason, you're playing without scanner-equipped Deadnaut). Ping all doors, to determine if they're open or close. In the former case - if possible - hack them to become closed before entering room. With medium or heavy scanner, you can know the entire room even in case of the big ones, before entering it. It requires patience (especially without recharger for sensor guy), but is well worth it. Think what you would do, if you would be there really - wait 30 seconds for recharge, or enter not-properly checked room on unstable, threats-filled derelict spaceship? ;)

2. When you've determined tough cookie ahead, buff your whole firesquad with stimpacks. After mopping the room, take the opportunity and move a little faster (and bit less carefully) through another ones, until stims wear out. It is useful to have *many* rooms properly scanned beforehand. When Deadnauts are on "worn off" state, use this time to properly scan another section of ship. You can move into the "unknown" this state, but very carefully - most fights are better averted until stimpacks wear off.

Generally, you want to save stimpacks for those "tough" situations that you're prepared for, but not alwas - first few uses are giving bonuses for *very* long time. Use it to sweep through the ship, and remember - only thing that limits you on their usage is the "wear off" time increasing after every use. In most times, it is not actually dangerous for Deadnauts - it just forces you to wait it out. On the other hand, "Super" and "Extra" stims are perfectly capable of maxing out ALL (or almost all) skills of your Deadnauts, which get chained together with your field guy giving more protection via his fields (usually, also maxing out penetration/damage resistance). you're really capable to mop the enemies while those stims are working - even the hardest ones.

Thats why I was advising against taking "Stimpack addict" perk, *ever* - it would be bad even if you could just not give said Deadnaut any stims, but with them taking random ones, it is even worse. Deadnaut taking stims on his own is ruining your ability to take them when needed, and - what is even more important - ruins synchronization of buffed/wear off state of your firesquad. Proper usage of stims is actually one of most important factors whle playing on "Extreme", so you can't afford losing it - even *if* it would give 30 free points during squad creation.

3. To maximize knowledge, investigate *only* while your xenobiologist is buffed (with appropriate buff). Usually, from mission 2 you can have investigation maxed out - difference in knowledge gained is not tremendous, but that odd 500 or 1000 knowledge per mission can mean difference between buying best possible selection of gear, or not being able to buy set that gives "synergy bonuses" (like proper suit + field + recharger, all fitting)

Lately - if I don't lose Deadnauts during mission and have to clone them - I *never* find myself unable to buy everything I need between missions. Sometimes, even *if* I need to clone them, I end up with saved knowledge. That said, *never* save for later missions, if you see equipment that would be actually useful now - in this game, finishing every mission is so huge step forward (only 4 of them per campaign) that it is worth to be prepared in best possible way. If you manage to pull next mission out (preferably, without big losses), you will also have so much knowledge, that previous saved doesn't matter.

4. Before entering new room - even if scanned and threat level is low/zero - throw fields on your whole squad, just in case. When fighting enemies, do it too, unless you're so out of energy that you need to leave someone unfielded, because...

5. ...when fighting tough enemies, always field them. Like mad. Field ALL of them. Your energy pool is/should be high enough, that you can afford having it on "reducing" state for a short duration of fight. Fielded enemies not only move slower, but they also SHOOT/ATTACK slower, which is absolutely vital for your survival. Not to mention that they penetration and damage defenses are greatly reduced (proportionally to how your defenses are increased when fielded). Unfielded evolved/enhanced can be tough, fielded one is just another "zerg".

6. Always manipulate power controllers to your benefit. It might sound obvious, but properly buffed power controller can give enough juice to allow you constantly field another Deadnaut without having your power pool reduced.

For - more often - situations, where high energy level in rooms result in more bad than good for you, there is easy trick - after cleaning out rooms that sit on one (usually first you encounter) power cord, *max* power on this (safe, now) area. It mean that whole rest of ship is now on minimum and usually (unless playing against regenerating mutants) you don't need to touch any power controller for the rest of mission.


V. More fighting tricks

1. Never underestimate environmental damage, for both you (probably know this already ;) ) or enemies. Having one room nuked to oblivion, then luring enemies there and locking them in (thanks to always-on-post hacker, closing doors) can wreck almost any enemy, save for horrors or phased. You just lure bunch of Evolved into 1% room, lock them in, and go for a tea - when you return, they're all long dead.

It may be hard to pull out in practice, cause they're perfectly capable of opening the doors and running out (but you can still close them fast enough to lock most of them), but if lured by shielded or fielded guy(s), you can rinse and repeat it until they're all dead. Or, if you have launcher, you can cheese them with it in the meantime - already destroyed room doesn't care, so blow it for your heart's content.

2. For same reason, blowing door leading to room full of enemies (via normal guns or launcher) can very well make it go below 10%, and start inflicting environmental damage to zergs. If it is the room that they were initially, and you haven't gained their attention yet, in most times they're stupid enough to stay there and slowly die.

3. Friendly hacked sentinel can wreck about anything - I saw it destroyed by mutants only once, and it was about around 1h of mission time. Sadly, It doesn't help much with evolved - their missions usually doesn't/never contain sentinels (probably because they're only one non-resurrecting, non-respawning enemies, so having them wrecked by sentinels even before you enter them room would be... Strange. And easy.)

4. Projectors are your friends. As I reported, even "standard" type can wreck evolved - project it on various spots of the room they're in enough time, and they will eventually shoots themselves to death, trying to kill the hologram. Well, I guess our holograms are like "phased" to us - they threat it like ghost/projection/spectre, are terribly afraid of it, and shoot like mad. Anyway, with enough patience, there *always* will be just one evolved in the room, at the end.

Usually, the shoot themselves more when they're chasing the hologram, and less/none if the hologram already stopped, and "soldiers" gathered around to pound it. That's it is important to project it in various places, so threats constantly change their chase path and keep shooting their teammates.

5. The team-damage doesn't work with melee enemies (all but "soldiers"), but it doesn't mean projector isn't useful there - albeit, most of the time, not the basic one. "Medium" or "high" realism protocols mean that zergs are going to attack holograms even if you're standing next to them and shooting their face with scatter gun - they just consider it "more real" than your actual Deadnauts. It works even for evolved/enhanced, so with "high" level projector, it is usually safe to enter the room, and kill them one by one, while they're busy with shooting projection.

Overall, holo projector is most OP and unbalanced piece of equipment in whole game, in my opinion. Combination of having sensor guy and projector guy is almost unbeatable - heck, even without sensor guy, you may still project it if you open and close door fast, just to get a glimpse of adjacent room. Also, while projectors use "sensor" slot, I don't think that actual "Detection" skill affects them - if yes, it is so low effect, that I haven't noticed it. Just like "weapons" skill doesn't affect traps, despite them using "Weapon" slot (should be teh slots, IMO...)
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Hope it helps - probably, I've forgot to include something that is "natural" for me (and other things that I consider absolute basics was omitted on purpose), so if you have questions or problems with particular situation, feel free to ask further :)

By the way, I wonder how you are able to complete the first mission on 'extreme' difficulty with 'soldiers' as enemies?

Usually, I just proceed carefully, buff my guys with stims, and field enemies, making them easy prey - there is less than 10 of them on whole ship, during first mission, rarely more than two (usually 3 or 4 on bridge, or close to). I separate them when possible using hacker and closing doors. Of course, I pound them with 2 scatter guns, not rifles or axes (albeit I remember attacking them successfully with 1 axe and 1 scatter, with the axe guy being most proficient in combat... And being closest to death, at the end). Sometimes, when I'm up for a fun, I detect them from afar with sensors, open door remotely, and cheese them with launcher (but standard launcher need *many* hits to kill them).

Of course, don't forget to position your team - fighters ahead, both fielded, with field girl/guy behind them, and rest team on the sides. Someone open doors and provokes them for zerg rush, then team - using "stable formation" buff - pound (fielded) enemies with salvos.

In desperate situations, I just nuke the room most of them are in (bridge, looking at you), most of the time by blowing up doors (or, if have launcher, deliberately shooting walls).

Cheers,
/Cat Lady

flyer138

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Thank you for the enormous report and vast tips on tactics. This really sums it up. Thank you very much for sharing your ideas with us Cat Lady.

After playing Deadnaut for a good while now I even learned a number of things:

1. I did not know that you may lock enemies in and that they can eventually die of environmental damage, too. In past campaigns the soldier type enemies often had shields; maybe the the B and C types more frequently than As. I thought they are regularly safe from environmental damage.

2. Stimpacks are truly useful. I have never put them to effect so far; instead I mainly had stim-addicts. Thus, I completely underestimated their effects for combat. It really helps to "power up" your fire team just before engagements.

3. I felt that the hacker is not so useful when combating soldiers and only required to control sentinels and keep watchers or signals at bay for your convenience (less noisy view port ;-)) . Then, I just used the hacker to safely open doors for the scout when enemies were very close to the door.

@Logan
Current ship layouts do not often permit the effective use of a hacker to lock enemies in some place or go around them to take on the considerably strong bridge squad first. Enemies tend to be concentrated on the rear 3/4 of ships and guard the 'bottlenecks'. Sometimes it is hard to separate them without alerting the complete squad which will go after your team quickly.
It may be intended to raise difficulty or reflect space ship layouts accurately. From my point of view there are few opportunities to go around certain groups of soldiers and separate them via hacking. That's why I often avoided the hacker and used him in other roles when soldiers were present.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 08:46:37 AM by flyer138 »

flyer138

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TACTICS for SOLDIER type enemies
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2016, 01:13:08 AM »
Cat Lady's approach and tips generally apply. Here is how I handle things in Deadnaut then:

TEAM(first skill mentioned is highest)
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1. Leader / fighter (max. cohesion, combat) - fire team #1
2. fighter (combat) - fire team #2
3. protector (protection, combat) - fire team #3
4. scout (max. stealth, detection, combat)
5. hacker (investigation. hacking)


FIRST MISSION EQUIPMENT and TACTICS for SOLDIER type enemies (numbers refer to team above)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. scatter gun - combating enemies

2. scatter gun - combating enemies

3. Standard Field - surviving areas with environmental damage (It may always happen that you have to cross destroyed rooms.), protection of the fire team #1 & #2

The above 3 deadnauts form your fire team which engages soldiers in combat directly. They will either rush into rooms with the shielded ones ahead or lay ambushes in rooms under your control. Placing them where enemies have only a narrow passage to walk in, is effective of course. Avoid to fight enemies in open rooms. All three should focus their aim on one the same opponent at a time. Consider the throwing of fields on soldiers when you have the opportunity (described by Cat Lady above).

@Logan:
As you know, an improvement of deadnaut formations would help a lot. Often not the shielded deadnauts pace ahead through doors leaving the more vulnerable team members for the enemy return fire.


4. standard Scanner, maybe no weapons - detection of enemies & ship layout
If stealth skill is low, you could even consider leaving the scout with no weapon at all - not even a knife since it impacts stealth (I do not know why is this.). High stealth is crucial to allow the scout to get away from enemies without being detected. It is no help when the scout is seen by the enemy before you see the enemy. The first scanners range is not sufficient to be safe in all places; recharging has to be taken into account in corridors. So, I often let the scout make visual contact. Sometimes this may raise your threat knowledge (staying in the same room as your enemies).
The approach is to either ping or discover the enemies first with the scout for the other 3 fire team members. You decide whether a direct engagement could be successful. If so, you have to rush in with your fire team in order to get the first shots before any return fire occurs. They attack the still unaware enemy and quickly reduce their numbers one by one.
The trick is that the scout reports the discovered enemies to your fire team even if they do not see them normally. With that approach you are very effective of discarding up to two enemies without getting any damage to your team. Once powerful cloaks are available this tactic becomes more efficient and easier to handle. But then the scout should not be able to shoot otherwise he will be killed quickly.
But this approach only works when not so many enemies are in one area and their weaponry is not too strong. The hacker opens or closes doors from a distance to our tactical advantage. He may separate enemies from each other or even lock them into destroyed areas (by Cat Lady above).
The main benefits of a stealth-based scout are the enlargement of your sensors reach - the scanner is strictly limited in range - and the element of surprise during assaults - your team fires first shots and the enemy may shoot back with what's left of his squad. With the scout you may enter large rooms with a number of enemies inside and determine their exact position as well as number. That would be impossible with an ordinary deadnaut with his scanner and pinging all the way from other adjacent rooms; he may not even think about going near the door entries unless he is keen on being shot at on the first sight. In contrast, a scout specialized in stealth (and maybe no weapon at all) is able to enter and leave the room full of enemy soldiers in one piece without being detected.

@Logan:
Why does the combat knife lower stealth?


5. Hacker: standard launcher OR decrypter
The launcher does not require high combat skill; therefore the hacker may use it. Other deadnauts will bear the fire arms and have no space. It is needed for fighting large groups of soldiers who are concentrated in one area like the bridge or the corridors / rooms beneath it.
Alternatively you can use the hacker in its ordinary role with a decrypter for hacking (sometimes sentinels are placed in a corner hard to attack due to obscured line of sight with the launcher). Then the tactics described by Cat Lady above apply very well.
However, the launcher can be considered as a fail-safe device for the first mission, since it permits you to neutralize even the strongest soldiers in large numbers. Working together with the scout, the hacker gets rid of each enemy after a while. Sometimes soldiers' weapons are so strong (e.g., those causing chemical damage) that a direct attack of even a small number of opponents is futile; after a while your deadnauts take on so much damage that you can barely use them in combat again. Then, you can resort to the hacker with the launcher as your last effective bet. This also applies should anything go wrong like the formation fell apart, power for shields is insufficient, someone of the fire team cannot continue combat etc.
To keep the hacking ability and obtain additional safety one scatter gun of the fire team may be exchanged with a launcher. This, however, weakens your fire team. Remember that the launcher is a last resort to take off enemies that are either too strong or large in numbers.

note for Logan:
The choice of equipment was very challenging before V1.3.0 which introduced the selection of opponent type. Before that and now with random selection, you have no clue what to expect.
Sometimes you got really lost without a hacker when sentinels were numerous or in difficult to avoid rooms. Even if you had a hacker, your were in need of a launcher when no one would be able to safely reveal the distant sentinel (out of reach for the scanner). In the previous Deadnaut version a launcher was the only means to be able to fight both distant sentinels which could not be detected with the initially available scanner and the ever strong soldiers.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 08:48:02 AM by flyer138 »

flyer138

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Summary for developers
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2016, 01:16:07 AM »
As you see from Cat Lady's and my post, Deadnaut is a small game (still only 4 successive missions) but has some hidden yet high tactical depth that will only notice after some time. You have a number of obvious options starting with team member creation and composition. The equipment is not so much in quantity and is quite manageable. But how you use it once 'on ship' and how deadnauts' skills subtly affect it are truly another part of the story.
After all, I never came across such a game that encourages so many tactical considerations after a time. Compared to its size, Deadnaut really has its depth which makes it worthwhile and unique game. In short, very well done Logan; praise goes to you and your team.
Finally, the development team may understand now why we urged for further improvements and bug fixes. Deadnaut still has great potential.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 08:52:54 AM by flyer138 »

Cat Lady

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I'm glad that it have helped you, flyer :) Few comments on the things that you mentioned and I forgot to:

1. Actually, one of my plans for future is to make investigation/stealth specialist, instead of stealth/combat specialist, as the investigation guy was never in good synergy (primary stats required) with combat. AIUI, investigation of guy that is in same room as enemies greatly increases amount of knowledge gained by just observing them - during normal play, I often have 100 % knowledge about threats A and B, but not so often about C and D (less of them, overall). I guess that stealthy investigator could help here.

Also, I'm pretty confident that you actually can gain knowledge (as in: currency) even from threats that you already know everything about in combat department. I haven't reported it as bug, cause I consider it non-combat knowledge, aka the one that Earth pays of for too (like, performing *ekhm* zoological observations on mutated forms of races extinct for 100 years, etc).

2. For sentinels that are out of range for my scanner, I usually throw a shield on sensor gal/guy, and send him running through the room to the distance required for successful scan. Usually, he comes back only relatively bruised. If sensor guy is unavailable, I send someone else who is fast (and shielded, preferably double shielded).

If you have beam shields/fields, you actually don't need to hack every sentinel (if you don't want support against threats in this region, anymore) - if  some sentinel is irritating you, stimpacked and shielded team is perfectly capable of taking it down without much problem. In some late "portals" missions, I notoriously become decadent enough to recklessly blow sentinels that get in my way too often. Just mind the ship structural integrity, if ever doing it!

3, I'm not entirely in agreement that hacker isn't useful during "Soldiers" - I know where you're coming from and agree with your arguments, but if you hit ship with security as priority, and doors or signal strength as highest security factor, you might actually find yourself either cut out from commanding your Deadnauts during hardest firefights (it actually doesn't matter if it is audio or visual jammed, personally I find the latter worse, as I'm unable to *both* see what is happening and issue meaningful orders), or find your "tactical retreat" way out blocked by a door that require 8+ seconds to hack, while group of shotgun wielding enhanced super-soldiers advance at you.

but, maybe it is because i often have one or two Deadnauts with "Signal to noise" flaw, which "synergies" negatively with watchers jamming.

4. The worst thing that you can get into is actually "Soldiers" with beam weapons. It is only situation I've meet that can SNAFU you on your first mission even if you did everything right.

Cheers,
/Cat Lady

flyer138

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Thank you for the exchange of new ideas on Deadnaut. Let me post some comments on your last 4 points:

1. This may be an interesting combination which will likely replace the scout. Then it leaves this role with either bad detection or investigation skills. Stealth will not consume so much (2 picks; 2 remaining) - in my experience about 38 is sufficient for the first mission without any weapons to enable the scout to perform in his role. But you cannot get both good investigation or detection. So, I think the new deadnaut may not gather knowledge or will not reveal enemies in the end. Finally, we have to tr out to learn whether it works.
However, I did not know that the investigation skill will positively affect the knowledge gathering on enemies. Good observation!


2. Yes, you can approach the sentinel situation with a shielded deadnaut. Still it depends largely on the type of shield and may cause high damage. Sometimes I came across two sentinels in a large room. This is always a very tough situation when both of them are out of reach. By the way, it takes very long for one hacked sentinel to put the other one out of action.


3. When you use the hacker equipped in close cooperation with the scout who has either a scanner (first and likely second mission) or a projector (maybe in later missions) there will be no large fire fights with my approach. You only engage small groups of soldiers with the fire team directly. Basically, the tactic is recommended to be applied in situations where the odds are quite against you; when the fire team's chances of survival are low. For instance, some enemies come with potential chemical or shock damage effects n the first mission; it is highly probable that one of your deadnauts will be caught by those effects during retreat. Thus, casualties are very likely to be counted. Hence, the major share of 'work' is done by the hacker who blasts most concentrations of enemies into oblivion. The remaining or significantly weakened soldiers will be easily dealt with the fire team.
You have to time your attacks well and wait until the distortions are gone of course. It requires quite a bit of patience to use the launcher in high succession. Eventually, it will help a lot not to have "signal to noise" flaws on board. And don't forget: all the time you have to be careful when aiming the device since a misfired missile will severely hurt or even kill the hacker quickly.
The tactic may feel a bit like cheating, since the soldiers do not properly react to the high number of blasts send in their direction. But it's worth trying to survive with the complete team in order to meet the challenging soldiers in the next mission on better terms with improved equipment.


4. You are right. Beam equipped soldiers are to be probed with attacks on small groups of enemies first. Then you can assess the situation what more of them would have inflicted for damage. Yet, there are other types that have to be approaches with caution. There is a chance that you will face scatter guns with special damage effects on the first mission. From time to time I feel Deadnaut is closely related to rolling dice.


Good luck on your missions.

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