XCOM: Combat Mechanics

Humans or aliens standing in your smoke are hard to hit.

Humans or aliens shooting into your smoke get an aim penalty.

Got it. That’s the part that I didn’t understand. It just wasn’t intuitive to em since it wasn’t very realistic.

Smoke needs to be on your guys. It does no good between your soldiers and aliens.

To get away from the number crunching and back to the tactical discussion: I use them when I move a unit forward into low cover and happen to trigger the aliens. If I can’t dash back or don’t want to, I’ll use a support unit to toss a smoke grenade on the guy in a tough spot. I’ll keep my support unit back with an action available to do this (or rather, I don’t pay attention but still got lucky the 2-3 times this happened!)

I’ll usually treat the guy in smoke as bait and hunker down to give me a little time to maneuver the rest of my units or wait for the dice rolls on my sniper. I’m sure eventually this will bite me since the hit percentage is still nonzero.

That reminds me. Although the hit percentage attrition is annoying, I wonder which situations make the critical hit percentage go close to 0. You’ll never be able to completely avoid damage in full cover or whatever. But if you can avoid instant death using smoke or distance, that should be good enough. I’ll keep an eye on it, though I guess it’s hard to tell what base percentages the aliens have to compare to my own.

I tend to use it similarly to Tim. If I’m pushing forward and I trigger more than 1-2 bad guys and have a squaddie exposed in light cover, I toss a grenade on top of them to reduce the aliens chances of taking them out. Once I’ve got the grenade out, I often push some additional squaddies into the smoke on the theory that I know have an advantage – the aliens will shoot at me with low hit chances, and I’ll shoot back at them with higher hit probabilities. Of course, it depends on what the rest of the map looks like, but I find this particularly useful in poor cover forest maps.

Not the basic smoke grenade AFAIK, but there is an upgrade that you can get (“Combat Stimulants” IIRC) that does increase to hit percentage of shooters in the cloud, it provides a second bonus as well, although I can’t remember what it is. It’s fairly high up the Support chain, and IIRC it’s either that or further increase the defensive abilities of the smoke.


Sniper rifles definitely have penalties at close range. My sniper had to go to a pistol to take out a Chryssalid that got right up in her grill. Her percentages with the pistol were much higher than the rifle at that range.

Just did some experiments with range.

First of all, range, interestingly, isn’t calculated by tiles, but by “real” distance. You’ll get different numbers if you are diagonal vs. orthogonal, even if the # of tiles is the same. For that reason, I use approximate tile counts.

I assume every weapon is different, but here are the numbers for the basic assault rifle.

NO long distance penalty.
at ~9 tiles away: +1%
~8 +5%
~7 +10%
~6 +14%
~5 +19%
~4 +22%
~3 +28%
~2 +32%
~1 +37%.

Basically ~+4% accuracy for every tile closer after 9.

I’ll look at other weapons as I get the opportunity.


Goddamnit, I have a Berserker, in the wide fucking open, close range, and 3 guys, including a sniper with Double Tap, missed on 85% shots or higher.

This may have been said, but elevation relative to the target gives you a 20% bonus to hit. You only need a one-floor advantage over your target for the bonus.

Also, sorry if this is already known, but definitely use the “More Info” button. It’s inside the shot hud when targeting an alien, or pressing the Left Stick on console/using a gamepad. That gives you a complete aim number/critical chance breakdown, as well as listing any bonuses or penalties that may be affecting you.

Or F1 on the computer!

F1 is the keyboard shortcut

The odds of that are 15% ^ 3, or 0.3375%. In other words, one out of 296. How many shots do you think you’ve taken in this game? If it’s more than 3 * (1 / 0.003375) (which happens to be 888.88888…), then you’re well within reasonable probability limits. If this was your first mission, you just got unlucky.

It’s just like the classic game! :P /watches shot going sideways… damnit!

Thanks for dedicating time to it and getting the numbers to the rest.

Interesting how it is “backwards” of what I supposed, being an accuracy bonus when it’s close until it reaches the “normal accuracy”, when it’s 10 or more; instead of using a “normal accuracy” from 0-10 and increasing penalties from that point.

Question: I’m going (as much as possible given injuries) for an all-female squad. I’ve got Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Lornette Mason, Kara Thrace and Aeryn Sun running around.

But I’m out of female rookies. Is there a hard limit in the barracks roster or does it just expand as missions award recruits or you buy them? Do I have to delete some random (male) rookie before I can buy a female recruit (destined to be Zoe Washburne).

I kind of wish gender were a customization choice like race and hair and voice. Ah well.

Critical strategic questions here!

Under barracks there’s an option to buy more troops. That lists the limit as 99 IIRC.

IIRC, early in the game the barracks had a low maximum soldier number. The cap goes away a bit later (maybe after the tutorial?).

As a general rule, yeah. That does mean you don’t have the dashing dodge bonus against reaction shots for the first half of the move, which normally isn’t the main consideration. But if, because of circumstances, you wouldn’t get a benefit from doing a 2-part move, and you are worried about reaction fire, just straight dashing gets you the bonus the whole time I assume.

Not sure if you’re agreeing, but BTF was talking about when you’re searching for enemy triggers. I don’t think they sit in Overwatch until you’ve woken them up. (I could be wrong.)

I’ve used the dash bonus when I knew I was going to take a reaction shot. In fact, you can kind of cheese it by dashing with an enemy far away to burn his reaction shot so you can move another soldier closer. It hasn’t bitten me yet…