XCOM: Combat Mechanics

There’s also a considerable boost to critical chance against a target out of cover.

flyinj took a few extra seconds to go through his forum post animation.

It’s CRITICAL to only move one action at a time, so if your first action reveals something you can run back to a hidden position, which is normally possible.
Yeah, it helps not to dash unless you know it’s safe. It’s kind of slow like preserving time units in the original game, but it works best.

Once you get a sniper, it’s easier to understand the flow of combat. Don’t do anything with him (overwatch, move, etc.) until you move other troops into position. That way he can take a shot if you stumble upon the aliens.

While we’re on mechanics… does anyone know what sort of penalty to hit the smoke grenade causes?

I assume it’s helping out in the cases were I use it, but I’d be nice get a better feel for how useful it is.

Not upgraded it provides +20 cover (so a 20% reduction in hits). With the “Dense Smoke” upgrade it becomes 40, IIRC.

In a way, I think it’s interesting: Do you know why I supposed higher values? I think it was because the (very good!) visual representation of the combat, both the cover sizes and the animations: how the soldiers rest in them and cover with it. In light cover they are at least 50% covered, in heavy cover they are almost 100% (and I’m already thought the real value would be lower because the are supposed to peek out when they fire and be).

Murbella also complained a bit about the cover, maybe he had the same thought as me.

I suppose it’s a sign of the times: I wouldn’t have made that supposition in an old game with more primitive graphics, where it’s clear it’s going to be all abstracted. But now with the highly detailed 3d graphics, I tend to forget it doesn’t have to be a 1:1 representation.

Thanks to the clarification about how it works, I wasn’t sure if it was applied to the single roll hit (with the distance penalties, stats of soldiers applied, etc) or a double check system (first a roll with a flat 20%/40% chance, to know if the shot hits the cover or not, and if the shot “surpasses” the cover, a second roll based in the stats and bonuses)

Help me understand tactically how one should use the smoke grenade. It decreases chance to hit for your guys too, right?

Is it mainly useful to make a hasty retreat if you’re getting your ass handed to you?

I don’t think there is any penalty for shooting out of it.

Smoke grenades? I use them to create cover in a coverless area so a soldier can flank.

No penalty for shooting out, but it will help aliens in it.

Yeah, I don’t think it hurts your troops. I tend to use it in times where I know some of my troops are about to get hammered on the alien turn, so I throw it on them to improve survivability.

Is the effect ‘neutral sided’? Applies to every shot (friendly or foe) through the smoke? Or only to enemies?

I don’t think there is any penalty for shooting out of it.

Waiting for some confirmation of this.

edit 2:

No penalty for shooting out, but it will help aliens in it.

help aliens? So then it’s the other way around?

From what I understood, it only means that aliens in the smoke radius are as protected as your men. So, in that sense, it helps them.


It would be nice to know how range penalties work exactly
by steps (i.e. 0-10 tiles is a normal shot, 11-max have a flat penalty) or is gradual (7 tiles distance have -5, 8 tiles -10, 9 tiles -15, etc.) ??

So the smoke grenade helps anybody who is inside of it shooting at a target that is outside of it. Is that right?

Nope, it makes anyone covered in smoke harder for enemies to hit.

According to the F1 stats I’ve seen it’s ONLY a cover bonus. Doesn’t affect to hit rolls at all. And it says right on the description that it affects all units, including aliens, who are in the smoke.

Well, it only adds a defensive bonus, so it doesn’t matter who you are shooting at.

Smoke grenades don’t seem to do anything to melee enemies, sadly.

Weapons have various ranges(short, medium, long), and yeah, it’s bizarre that what “short” means.

I noticed that with the shotgun there were times that I had what looked like good shots that were <20% chance to hit, so the short range is shorter than the visual range.
I have never seen what seemed like a good shot with a bad chance to hit with a rifle or LMG, though. I think medium range tracks the view range pretty closely.

Pretty sure there’s no penalty for your guys shooting out of the smoke from your Smoke Grenades. I dunno that I tested it tested it, but I kinda zero’d in on it the first couple times I used it, and it didn’t seem like they were.

The way to test it would be to hit the “More Info” button on the little window that comes up just after you hit the “Fire” button (the window where you actually pull the trigger by hitting “Ok”). It’ll break down all the combat bonuses and penalties of both the attacker and defender.

I try to have my Support guy(s) go last in a turn. Just like I try to have my Heavies go first (the Holo Targeting +10 Aim is really nice, especially when it’s gonna take 2 or 3 soldiers in a turn to take down 1 alien). Doesn’t always work out that way, but I try. Helps in a couple ways. First, I can asses the current condition of my men and the disposition of the enemy, and decide whether a particular soldier really does need a medic. Particularly if I reveal even MORE aliens like halfway through a round. Those “Oh shit, this is gonna get hairy” type of rounds. Secondly, if it’s turning out to be one of those types of rounds, and two or three of my guys are semi close together; I pop smoke on 'em.

The thing I keep forgetting to test is whether you have to put the smoke on top of your guys? Or is it a LoS type of concealment? If the aliens have to shoot through it, do they incur a penalty?

Yeah, smoke provides cover from all directions, which makes it very handy indeed.

Perhaps unrealistically, it doesn’t SEEM (I keep forgetting to check, I could be wrong) to reduce your chance to hit, nor hinder LOS from either direction. It’s a simple, useful tool, if not super realistic. Perhaps your soldiers are trained in how to ignore the smoke, LOL. In any case, it’s ONLY beneficial to use, epsecially upgraded.