Author Topic: Could use some Expert help  (Read 3518 times)

Offline Jaunt

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Could use some Expert help
« on: November 06, 2013, 03:02:50 AM »
I've been trying to play Expert extremely well to prepare a strategy for a eventual ironman run, but I keep running into a brick wall. My team is usually: 1 assault, 1 sniper, 2 sieges. I don't know if I'm getting value out of the assault, since grenades are weak rockets, the rifle is nothing special, and I can't seem to make his tanking work. He's good at tesla bots, underleveled bots, and that might be it. The sieges are naturally amazing, but they run out of rockets and fight over upgrades. The sniper is good for single targets who aren't worth rocketing, but too good for assault.  I also run Rey, both because his ability is forgiving, and because 2 free reloads of rockets is amazing. I'm tempted by both Genji and the drone pilot girl though. Extra sight and strike range is sweet.

With some luck, hacking points are almost adequate to open the . Viruses and turrets are borderline unusable in my early games. Mines pretty much entirely useless. Stealth is mostly just to run around a corner so I can resume throwing rockets.

The issue I run into is that while day 1 and 2 are pretty reasonable, the early game becomes rapidly vicious and seems to scale without respect for my meager increases in damage. For instance, I lucked into 3 armories quite early, but even optimizing my rocket launchers to the extreme I only ended up with ~1.5k damage and 11 rockets per exo. As awesome as that is, when I ran into doombots who had 8k health and could oneshot any of my exos. Hunterbots were similarly problematic, eating 2+ rockets each and pretty much turning any long corridor into a death sentence.

Any tips out there, on tactics, exo choice, CO choice, or anything else helpful? Thanks ahead of time.

Offline Misery

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2013, 10:20:23 AM »
I've been trying to play Expert extremely well to prepare a strategy for a eventual ironman run, but I keep running into a brick wall. My team is usually: 1 assault, 1 sniper, 2 sieges. I don't know if I'm getting value out of the assault, since grenades are weak rockets, the rifle is nothing special, and I can't seem to make his tanking work. He's good at tesla bots, underleveled bots, and that might be it. The sieges are naturally amazing, but they run out of rockets and fight over upgrades. The sniper is good for single targets who aren't worth rocketing, but too good for assault.  I also run Rey, both because his ability is forgiving, and because 2 free reloads of rockets is amazing. I'm tempted by both Genji and the drone pilot girl though. Extra sight and strike range is sweet.

With some luck, hacking points are almost adequate to open the . Viruses and turrets are borderline unusable in my early games. Mines pretty much entirely useless. Stealth is mostly just to run around a corner so I can resume throwing rockets.

The issue I run into is that while day 1 and 2 are pretty reasonable, the early game becomes rapidly vicious and seems to scale without respect for my meager increases in damage. For instance, I lucked into 3 armories quite early, but even optimizing my rocket launchers to the extreme I only ended up with ~1.5k damage and 11 rockets per exo. As awesome as that is, when I ran into doombots who had 8k health and could oneshot any of my exos. Hunterbots were similarly problematic, eating 2+ rockets each and pretty much turning any long corridor into a death sentence.

Any tips out there, on tactics, exo choice, CO choice, or anything else helpful? Thanks ahead of time.

I've played expert mode to death myself, generally with little difficulty (which is one reason why Misery difficulty exists) so ill try to give some advice here...  Hopefully it'll help, as opposed to just making no sense.

First thing is first: I very strongly recommend having a science exo on your team. There's numerous reasons for this:

1.  Lots and lots of hacking points.  And you NEED these.  Required points to open chests will keep rising over the course of the game.

2.  Lots and lots of virus points can be had as well....  But more on that in a bit here.

3.  Lots and lots of sentries or mines.... Both of which can be very helpful.  Mines in particular can be incredibly damaging, which leads to:

4.  Can have lots of trap skill.  Since this guy isn't bigon weapons. (Sort of) you can really focus on computer stats, as well as propulsion stats.  Get lots of trap level for this guy. As much as you possibly can. This, I find, is stupidly helpful.

5.  Holy sensors, Batman!  None of the other Exos come even remotely close to the crazy powerful sensors that this guy can have.   It's possible to reveal entire levels all at once with this guy, depending on the situation.   And sensors are very important.

6.  Tends to have a good amount if stealth points.   Combined with the crazy sensors, this guy makes for the ultimate scout.  You need never be surprised by unexpected enemies again.

7.  The chain gun.   Yes, it's the science exo, I know.... But the epic version has this weapon, which I consider one of the 3 best weapons in the game.  The other two being the sniper rifle thing, and the Brawler's Dissolver.  Like the sniper rifle, you get an extra turn with this when it is fired on an even ammo count.  Better yet, it has LOTS of ammo.  It can also attain a high range, and pretty good damage,making the science exo a threat during fights.  He can hold his own against even horrors like ViperBots or DoomBots with this. Combine this with his amazing sentries and mines, and.... Well, lets say, this guy can be quite a terror.


Virus points are the one thing you might want on someone else though.  I suggest giving them to the Sniper.  His stealth, which can be very high, makes it easy to get to where you need to be to capture a key enemy.  Ideally, virus parts should be the only things in his computer slots.  Viruses,are pretty darned useful.  Particularly if you run into something like a shield bot or a leader bot...  Even bosses can be captured. Virusing an ammobot when you are low is a wonderful thing.   As is command bots.  And try virusing a lone DoomBot AFTER giving it a few sentries to shoot.  Happy things will happen.

Try using a Brawler.  Many consider that one to be the best exo, purely for its incredible dissolver weapon. I'm convinced that there is no better weapon in the game.  This guy is REALLY good.  Give the dissolver a combination of added AoE radius, and range (doesnt need much though) with plenty of damage.  Given it's high base damage, it's easy to beef up its attack power. 

The Assault Exo is pretty good.... But I think it's also the hardest one to master.  It actually has a great selection of weapons, but none of them are easy to learn to use.  The rifle and grenades are the priorities for this guy.  As much range for the rifle as possible.   It doesn't need as much damage as you may think....  I had it doing about 1500 per shot at the very end of the game, and he was able to wreck plenty of things with it. Range is very important for this guy.  His tankiness is good too, but this guy can be good at lots of things.

Snipers are pretty great too. Don't look down on them simply because they are mostly single target attacks.  AoE is seriously not that important in this game.  Their sniper rifle weapon has excellent base damage, so it's easy to make it tremendously powerful.  And of course it has great range.  The epic weapons on this guy are pretty great too. This guy is super good at taking down anything with tons of health.  The double action of the sniper rifle makes sure that you have a way out after attacking.... There's some interesting tricks you can do with that or th science Exos chain gun.

Range in general is very, very important.   If you've got, say,13 range, and your enemy has 10, once he is actually in your firing range, he still has to move multiple times... With you firing after each of his moves.... Before he has a chance to fire at you.  And if he gets too close and isnt dead, thats what stealth is for. This is how you make weapons like the laser rifle into very good guns. The rifle has mediocre base damage, so it's futile to try to give it some damn silly number of attack points;  instead, you use it by striking multiple times before the enemy can reach you.   There are some weapons that should not focus on this though, like the Dissolver.  A mere 5 or so is fine for that thing.

You don't need crazy amounts of damage on weapons in order to kill even the strongest bots.  At the end of my last run in Expert, I don't think I had any weapon dealing more than about 5000 or so per shot.  And I beat it with relative ease.  Brute force is great and all. But I find its more about HOW you use the tools given to you, rather than how many planets they can smash per shot.

Stealth is powerful.  Very powerful. You want stealth points.  You ALWAYS want stealth points.  If you're only using it to lob more rockets, you're missing out on much of its potential.  Don't forget: enemies cannot fire at you and generally won't chase you when you go into stealth.  It's very important for quick escapes and repositioning, as well as scouting out closed rooms and corridors.  Whoever has the viruses should have the most. 


Siege Exos....   Ehhhhh.   To be honest, I don't really use them much.  Their ammo is too limited, and I find that other Exos simply have more versatility.  They are not necessary to win on any difficulty.  That's not to say they are useless, though.  Any exo type is viable.

As for commanders, any of them are good, really.   I use Tuck myself.


And finally, always always be aware of the different behaviors and quirks of the enemy bots.   Learn how you can use these things against them, and how you can exploit themwith your weapons.

Oh, and as for items?  All types of parts are important and useful. Do your best to save up for blues/purples in the shop, and check it after EVERY mission.  Put good things on layaway.  Parts Fab and Hacker missions are great for getting stuff to sell.   Greens can be good items too.

Oh, and in the early game, focus a bit on hacking points.  But not too much.   If you aren't opening every single door in every mission though, you are missing out on potential good parts and cash.



Ok, so, that was wordy as heck, I apologize.   And don't think that thesea tips are rules set in stone.  Feel free to come up with your own tricks, and adapt these tips to fit your own play style.

Hope this helps.  If there's any questions or anything at all, feel free to ask.

Edit:  and one more thing:  the whistle is your bestest friend ever. It may well be the most important tool.

Edit:  oh yeah, there was yet another important point to make.  Viruses.... There are some bots you should never, ever use viruses on. Certain bots can kill you merely by being on your side.  Read their effects carefully before virusing.  For example, that bot that redirects damage taken onto it's nearby allies.... Guess what happens if you virus THAT guy.   Hint: don't virus him.  There are other,s, too.



« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 10:40:21 AM by Misery »

Offline Jaunt

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2013, 01:35:15 PM »
Thanks for the exhaustive response, Misery. I'm somewhat discomfited hearing how easy you find it. I've probably just not wrapped my head around the game adequately. I'm further discomfited by the fact that misery difficulty seems named after you. That's just bad karma, man.

I think I'll swap out a siege for a science, as suggested. Buying a hacking computer isn't hard, but having more hack points than exist in any mission sure is nice. I completed the game on expert (with moderate save scumming)  with both the default party and 4 science bots. Is the science bot a trapper with hacking points, or a hacker with trapping skill? If the former, I wonder if a ninja with his +50% propulsion would make a better traphacker. He'd have stronger mines and turrets, but fewer, and wouldn't be able to virus as well, but would be better at sneaking up on things to virus them. Also better at putting down turrets and then not dying from bots splashing them. The virus thing doesn't seem to matter as much since you advocate making the sniper the virus man. On the other hand, I don't favor the ninja's weapons at all. At least the chaingun would be a nice thing to have. And maybe a sci-bot would be just the thing to make viruses and mines workable early before I get the gear for them.

I like the brawler, but the situation I found myself keep falling into is that the dissolver is amazing for the first few missions, but then I reach a point where, even optimizing it, I can't kill certain bots even with 2 or 3 shots around the corner, at which point he's just a trash clearer. I'm sure if I stick with him long enough I'll be able to make it really good, but there's just that low exo-strength to bot-strength point around maybe day 5ish where max level bots who already started tanky (hunters, dooms, etc) become downright untouchable. But nothing else really counters that either, so may as well give him another shot. How do you rate the kinetic burst gun? It has great damage, but if you don't oneshot something turning a corner, it seems you just die. So, is that still viable towards the end of the game?

I've been seriously underrating range. Maybe that alone will fix my game. Can't believe I didn't see that.

Offline Misery

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2013, 08:25:49 PM »
   Ehh, the game just takes practice and learning and such, the same as any roguelike or strategy title.  In my case I had the whole of the alpha/beta to play it as well as too much free time, so.... There ya go, heh.  I think you'll find that it's easier to get the hang of this one overall than it initially seems.  I find that's the case in general with Arcen's stuff, is that they can have a bit of a tough learning curve, but after some time with them you can handle higher and higher levels of difficulty as you get better and better. 


Lessee, to your questions.... Science Exo, by my play style he's a hacker above all else, with trapping and scouting coming in at second.  One reason why I use him as the trapper is that his bonus to CPU type stats means extra mines/sentries from their related parts, which often seem to also give stats he finds useful.  The ninja isn't bad at trapping or virusing, but his stealth is better spent using his unique ability to flatten dangerous enemies from stealth.   He can get decent trap skill, but a focus on stealth points is a must with him.  He can be pretty great when he's got lots of them.

 Oh p, and turrets, never place those when you're already in bot range if you can avoid it.  They're best used if set up in key spots when nothing is coming at you, followed by using the whistle to call key targets to then follow you into the trap zones.  Same with mines.  Bots that are busy firing at turrets are good targets for your weapons, so long as you stay out of their attack range.  And bots running over a line of 20 powered up mines are probably just dead.

Brawler, if you're giving it enough +attack parts for the dissolver, and preferably some +global-attack (the ones that affect every weapon at once) as well as AoE, he'll be fine, really. Enough AoE and he may be able to get four or five shots around corners, as well as potentially hit multiple targets at once if they're positioned right.   I usually prioritize his weapon over everything else.  One thing to keep in mind is that you're likely going to run into enemies that you simply cannot kill with just a couple of attacks.... Things with 30000+ shields tend to cause this, hah.  There will always be plenty of lower shielded enemies, anywhere from 1000 to 8000 seems very common on that difficulty, but yeah, the big guys, often they might need some teamwork to bring down.   This also is where the traps come into play; consider using some to weaken tough foes before starting to fire directly on them, so as not to use as much ammo.  But just keep beefing up that gun of his, and he'll do fine.  As for the kinetic burst, yeah, it can be pretty good, as high base damage means even higher potential damage when equipped with good stuff.  Often good to finish something off after a few dissolver hits.  His weapons are quite viable at any stage of the game, but that dissolver will always outclass all of his other weapons.


Offline Jaunt

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 03:58:21 PM »
Thanks for continuing to entertain my puttering about. If you made a list of weapons ranked from total damage done per mission, what would it look like?

Offline Misery

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 08:29:20 AM »
That one is definitely up to play style, but for the way I play it'd likely be:

1. Sniper rifle
2. Dissolver
3. Sniper's long range missile thingy
4. Chain gun
5. Laser rifle
6. grenades
7. The exploding thing that the assault and sniper both have. It's not high on the list as I only use it situationally.
8. Volatizer
9. Everything else

If you added the mines and sentries onto the list, the mines would probably be third, the sentries a bit lower.

And while the Dissolver is the best weapon as I see it, the sniper rifle ends up doing more total damage due to its double shot, which makes it the easiest thing to use on high health foes.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2013, 11:38:00 AM »
For me, it would be:

1) Plasma Rifle. (Sniper/Assault) 7 on Misery's list.
2) Plasma Cannon (Siege).
3) Gamma-ray rifle (Sniper)
4) Shadow Torpedo Launcher (Siege)
5) Grenade Launcher.
6) Volatizer.
7) Railgun (Sniper)
8) Kinetic Weapon.

Offline Jaunt

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 10:00:19 PM »
Thanks for the list, and thanks for chiming in Zharmad, I thought maybe the forum was just me and Misery.

I'm guessing this is your fairly mid to end game list? Or do you play Genji and prioritize ammo heavily? Does the plasma rifle just feature so highly because it eixsts on two of your bots? Also, your brawler doesn't even show up until the sixth slot. Is that an indication of its relative utility to you, or just that when any tool will do, it's the last one you tend to pick?

Offline Misery

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2013, 12:37:03 AM »
Thanks for the list, and thanks for chiming in Zharmad, I thought maybe the forum was just me and Misery.

I'm guessing this is your fairly mid to end game list? Or do you play Genji and prioritize ammo heavily? Does the plasma rifle just feature so highly because it eixsts on two of your bots? Also, your brawler doesn't even show up until the sixth slot. Is that an indication of its relative utility to you, or just that when any tool will do, it's the last one you tend to pick?

Nah, the forums just get quiet after a game has been released.

They're mostly used during the alpha/beta stages to discuss balance and bugs and all that fun stuff.   Many players actually go to the Steam forums for the game after release.  We here at these forums are often very focused on whatever the NEXT game is :D  And the devs of course are very definitely focused on that as well, heh.

And the Volatizer on Zharmad's list might actually be the Assault, not the Brawler... the assault gets it once the Bahamut upgrade has been applied.

Offline Jaunt

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2013, 02:10:51 AM »
Trust me, I know. And I'm sitting here trying to think of enough cool ship names to justify a post.

Currently perusing the steam forums. They're about as disappointing as steam forums generally are, regrettably. All the cool kids hang out here. There's...just very few, I guess.

It could be the Assault, yeah, but then number 8 is the Kinetic Burst either he's running assault and brawler, or he's got a Ninja he straight up hardly uses. Then again, I don't see Dissolver either, so maybe the man would be so kind as to shed some light on it himself.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2013, 03:10:49 AM »
The last run I used Assault / Ninja / Sniper / Siege. Feeding my initial ammo clips to the basic missile / grenade launchers tides me over until epic variants arrive. Always trying to clump bots together for more collateral. So, yes, the plasma rifle features heavily because it appears twice, and usually equipped to 5+ AoE. IIRC you asked for most amount of damage dealt, and an average plasma rifle short hits 6+ bots. Hence...

On the pilot front, I think Axis can reliably hit all 4 Epics within the first 10 days (haven't played that many games). All the intermediate missions you save translate directly into more offensive missions to help keep the army debuffed.

For me, the Dissolver is more difficult to use. Alert patterns tend to favour the volatizer: (1) enemies being roughly equal manhat distance, so volatizers' effective range includes its AoE, whereas dissolver is just range, and (2) volatizers can hit 2 or 3 bots in a single-tile hallway. Picking off enemies at different Manhat distances are carried out by single-target weapons.


The reason Ninja weapons are quite low on the list is because (1) there's a lot of other AOE weapons on my list to feed above his welder, and (2) he comes out only when it's necessary to do close combat / avoid bot-AoE.  Since it's the other bots who start an engagement, the Ninja is the one that picks off survivors.


Offline cupogoodness

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2013, 10:44:14 PM »
I'm getting ready to wrap up my first full expert run (party of Sniper, Brawler, Ninja, and Science) and definitely ran into some trouble out of the gate. I really struggled in the early-mid stages because I wasn't getting my weapon power/range up to speed with many of the bots I encountered in the first half dozen missions, but got a hold of things when I buffed my Dissolver to absurdly helpful levels. By about ten days in I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve on the customization portion for each unit (I spend way too much time comparing parts), and really haven't looked back since.

I ended up running off five command centers in a row this past weekend to really beef up weapons (Sniper and Brawler), propulsion (Ninja) and computer systems (Science), and feel like I have a hammerlock on the situation with two days remaining. That said, I haven't really taken that close of look at my opposition in the final fight -- it's been a very self-centered run.

Offline Misery

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 06:39:04 AM »
With the Dissolver at absurdly helpful levels, does it even matter what the opposition is?  :D


Granted, a zillion Doombots with a side order of WyvernBots, or something like that, would still be rather irritating, I should think....

Offline Jaunt

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2013, 01:20:13 AM »
I'm feeling like I'm feeling the same feeling, cupogoodness. I end up having trouble chewing through leveled up Thunders, Hunters, and Teslas. Really, anything that has a lot of shields and long range. I'm almost wondering if that particular weak point doesn't point to needing a Brawler. The problem is that those bots start at, what is it, 600 at level 1? Then at level 3 they're 2000, then at level 4 they're like 2200 or something. Rockets take care of a few of them, but 2 rockets with a mag of 8 means I can only take 4 of them. Even with Rey, that's only 12.

So yeah, 600 damage around the corner sounds like it'd be pretty nice about now, but on the other hand, that's still 4 hits to kill and I can only squeeze off 3. If I upgraded the Dissolver over the Gamma Ray right away, I might be able to eke out some wins. Hmm.

I recently had a very good run that took me to the ~20 days left mark, and it was really my sniper pulling all the weight, but he just doesn't pack enough punch to lead the team through days 3-6, and then Siege doesn't bring nearly enough ammo. I feel like if I get past that initial spike, I'll be all set.

Another question, if I may. In another thread it was posited the best time to the final battle was after nailing a bunch of command centers. However, if I've observed correctly, command centers advance loot but not bots. This suggests that the best time to strike is actually after clearing a bunch of command centers, and then a handful of armories. Am I wrong?

Offline Misery

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Re: Could use some Expert help
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2013, 04:17:10 AM »
I'm feeling like I'm feeling the same feeling, cupogoodness. I end up having trouble chewing through leveled up Thunders, Hunters, and Teslas. Really, anything that has a lot of shields and long range. I'm almost wondering if that particular weak point doesn't point to needing a Brawler. The problem is that those bots start at, what is it, 600 at level 1? Then at level 3 they're 2000, then at level 4 they're like 2200 or something. Rockets take care of a few of them, but 2 rockets with a mag of 8 means I can only take 4 of them. Even with Rey, that's only 12.

So yeah, 600 damage around the corner sounds like it'd be pretty nice about now, but on the other hand, that's still 4 hits to kill and I can only squeeze off 3. If I upgraded the Dissolver over the Gamma Ray right away, I might be able to eke out some wins. Hmm.

I recently had a very good run that took me to the ~20 days left mark, and it was really my sniper pulling all the weight, but he just doesn't pack enough punch to lead the team through days 3-6, and then Siege doesn't bring nearly enough ammo. I feel like if I get past that initial spike, I'll be all set.

Another question, if I may. In another thread it was posited the best time to the final battle was after nailing a bunch of command centers. However, if I've observed correctly, command centers advance loot but not bots. This suggests that the best time to strike is actually after clearing a bunch of command centers, and then a handful of armories. Am I wrong?

For dealing with high health/range bots, well... These a why I don't use the siege much.  It just doesn't have the ammo to deal with heavy hordes.  A lot of the time, with big foes, you're going to need multiple turns to pop them.... Don't go in expecting to just kill everything in one or two hits.

For high shield foes, the Sniper is probably best.  A super long range gun with a good base damage that fires twice in a turn.... Get this some boosted ammo and its gonna do good here.  Dissolver again is good here too.  Boosted AoE, and damage.... Since its base damage is already high.... And it can smash even heavy bots.   Don't be afraid to soften up the target with a few shots from something else before leading it around the corner.   Mines and sentries are great for this too.   The science Exo's chain gun can do well here also if you know how to use it that way.   And use things like laser rifles to kill smaller enemies whenever possible.   Don't waste the big guns on small fry.

And the command center bit, as far as I know, all they do is advance the clock, knocking five days off of the remaining time till the final battle.  It seems best to do them when you are running out of days and ready to finish.  They tend to give high rarity loot, so they can give you a final push before you go into that battle. I think I remember getting oranges from them.