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Jagged Alliance 2 AAR (dial-up beware)

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Jagged Alliance 2 AAR (dial-up beware)

Post by Quitch » Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:35 am

I've decided to write an AAR. I'm pretty new to JA2, played the demo over and over back when the game was fresh (and in terms of quality it still is) until I found I could complete it without getting hit on Experience, but couldn't do much as kill a guy on Expert. As has happened to me before, I lost interest in the game due to overplaying the demo.

However, I picked it up recently off Steam... then got a refund because their "Gold" edition didn't have the expansion, but did have a whole host of exciting new bugs. I instead bought it as a pack, for the same price, from StrategyFirst. Finally got around to installing it recently and commenced playing.

I thought this AAR would be interesting because it's through a new set of eyes. I've tried various difficulty levels both with and without 1.13, as well as playing with the options. Got my butt handed to me many times until I finally got a vague idea of what I was doing and turned the tables on the game... at Novice :)

I have abandoned my current game and decided to start fresh and do an AAR while it's still new. This is my first AAR so bear with me. I'm not intended to do it all perfect, expect reloads to be a part of the AAR :)

It was a dark night when he came, cloth.... hah, no, this isn't going to be a story AAR, can't stand 'em for the most part. No, this will be me playing JA2, explaining to you what I'm doing, and more importantly, WHY I'm doing it. I think the thought processes behind every decision are the most interesting part of any AAR. So here goes.

First, my setup. I am playing JA2 Gold with the 1.13 release 1.0.0.687 and all the default settings it comes with. That means the Drassen counter-attack is on.

My settings are as follows:

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You'll notice I've enabled "Enemies Drop all items". This is simply because I can't stand having to exhaust a ton of ammo killing fifty guys, only for them to drop three clips of ammo between them. I intend to be rewarded for killing people :)

Having tried novice before I step up to experienced. Novice was good, but I felt I was more challenged by my retarded decisions and incompetence than the game. Cambria was a cakewalk. I'm sticking with Realistic for the moment because I don't want to throw a spanner in the works. Iron man to stop my own worst temptations. Normal gun selection because I've never seen Bobby Ray. Tons of Guns because I find the variety far more interesting... in terms of AP, range, accuracy etc. rather than any gun fetish. It opens up more options.

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I generate myself an IMP profile quickly. We'll see my merc in the lineup soon enough, but I've picked voice 2 and I'm an expert in auto weapons. I've carefully min/maxed my stats because I'm a whore.

Here's the merc situation as stands:

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My first stop is Buzz. An early rifle can really turn the tide, and she's a crack shot to boot and reasonably priced. No medical insurance either. She was vital to my success in my previous game and I couldn't live without her. Skilled in auto weapons, a good shot, good agility, quality weapons, and she is skilled in heavy weapons too which will come in handy later if the one tank I faced last time is anything to go by.

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I hover over Ice, but am undecided. Shall I go with three mercs (picking up Ira for medical), or do I go with four? I had four last time, plus Ira, but would I be better served with a small army of crack men? Nah, it won't give me enough bodies to watch my back, and will leave me highly vulnerable to a lucky shot, especially if it hits Ira as it leaves me screwed in the medical area. I pass over Ice, but expect him to come in as one of my first new recruits.

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Since I'm going for two they need to be affordable, and this means that Steroid, the guy who has been in every squad I have setup, is coming back again. He's strong, can pick locks, repair items, excellent health and is a great shot too. Cheap also good. He's lacking in agility, but I don't care that much, he's in.

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Now this is more like it. A good shot AND medical, all for a decent rate. Gun is nothing to get overly excited about, but it'll do for starters, and we'll be rolling in SMGs soon enough. I've used Buns before, she's good.

Here's the team in all its glory:

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Finally, here's a breakdown of cost:

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We're ready to drop!

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Post by Andy22 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:59 pm

great start...looking forward to following your adventures :)

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Post by Massena » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:22 pm

This should be fun...

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Post by Quitch » Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:16 pm

I should explain my maxing of Quitch's marksmanship as it's the easiest stat to increase. IMO, the opening of the game is one of the hardest bits, especially with a Drassen counter-attack, and this is where every shot needs to count. I want marksmanship now so I live for the later stages, and I've sacrificed any competence in the medical field to get it. Dexterity is as low as it can go because I don't think I do anything that requires it. Strength comes trailing in second to everything else because, while I want to be able to lug and not lose AP (as I think I might) from carrying heavy stuff, I'd still rather have good initial AP, a good aim, etc.

Oh, and I have changed one default 1.13 setting... resolution is 1024x768 rather than 800x600 :)

Anyway, we've dropped into Omerta, a map I know like the back of my hand, so I'll be playing this in a fairly standard way. The squad will split into two groups of two, one rifle one pistol per pair. First squad will clear the top two buildings and push on, while the other two will check the flank and then head down the main street. Its been my experience that the first guy almost always comes north of the first buildings, that we will see one or two enemies on the central street, and that the final baddie will be lurking on the roof of the middle SW building.

Here goes.

I move everyone towards concealment so I can quickly go over the guns... which for some reason I always forget to do before the drop. Steroid watches the alley, Quitch the building North, Buzz the main street and Buns the second building down... except we spot someone before everyone is in place. Fortunately, this is predictable.

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A single shot to the head later and he's down.

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Go Quitch!

I move everyone into position. I (I can die and the game continues... is it me? I do a personality test on the laptop, but I'm still here if I die, so it can't be me, surely?) drop into a crouch. Steroid moves down the alley to watch the building across the way, as well as the North street. Buzz moves behind some wreckage to watch the main road, her rifle giving her the range necessary for this task. Meanwhile Buns moves to peek in the windows of the building to the South.

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I dither and have her facing the road, to save her turning when the enemy arrive, then I decide I should play properly and stop trying to game it and have her face through the window, leaving the road to Buzz. It's a good thing I do because...

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...there's the enemy! I move Buzz down to provide supporting fire while Buns dashes into the building to flank/intercept via the South door.

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I was expecting Buzz to get this one, Buns was just there to cover the side, but he's kept going that way and she does a neat side step, misses with her first shot, then gets him in the head and finishes him with a body shot. Well done Buns!

Expecting to only meet three foes in the sector I begin to advance on the SW building. Buzz and I go wide to flank, while Steroid and Buns take a more central path. They will be acting as the eyes, while Buzz and I will silently climb the roof and perform the take down. It would make more sense to engage him with rifles from the centre and sneak Buns or Steroid onto the roof, but Buzz is the best shot and with the cost of climbing onto the roof I can't afford to miss.

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Except I'm wrong, they're not on the roof. Fortunately I was scouting buildings and using cover and Steroid gains sight of this new foe...

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...and downs them with a single shot to the head. But the fight isn't over yet, so obviously I can't count and there must be four. Thus I continue to flank the SW building.

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I'm flanking from the South with Buzz and Buns, while I leap fences in the North - from now on I'm going to call me in-game Quitch, to save confusing him with 'I' controlling the game. - to remain out of sight. Steroid steps out to get a sighting and steps back in. He can't hit from that range anyway.

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Being sneaky we gather around the building and get ready to swarm the roof and take him down.

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Except he's not there! WTF? Time to scout like mad. Steroid and Buns are deployed on the roof as my eyes, while Quitch and Buzz prepare to advance towards possible hiding places.

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It doesn't take us long to find him. Steroid's ears have failed him miserably, the guy is on Steroid's building. Both Buns and Steroid get out of sight while Quitch and Buzz advance for the kill.

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Another one shot to the head and the battle is over. I'll probably cover future battles in broader strokes, due to the numbers involved, plus several enemies will probably die in the same spot to the same person using the same tactics, so we won't need people by people break downs.

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This is the sector loot. I'm going to issue a second weapon, with no spare ammo, to each merc. This is in case of jams, hits to the shoulder forcing weapon drops, or simply for those cases where you don't have the AP to ready and fire the gun in hand but do for the spare. Saved me a merc once.

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Note that Quitch's gun has had the ammo swapped out for hollow point ammo. I'm hoping to find a few guys with no helmet to use this stuff on. We'll see. I've also given him the Skorpion because, in an emergency, it will still allow him to blaze away on auto as is his skill.

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I've allocated Steroid a gun which costs less AP to shoot and also has hollow point ammo. Another advantage is that it uses the ubiquitous 9x19mm ammo. He's kept his old gun because of the damage it can do. It doesn't cost anything to change guns anyway so he can swap as necessary.

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We go talk to Fatima...

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...who leads us to a less than happy Dimitri...

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...and a not so trusting Carlos...

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..who fortunately takes orders from a wiser head.

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Worst. Voiced. Line. Ever. And that includes all of Spellforce 2.

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Anyway, she's joining the cause. Not a great shot, but we need another medic to aid... take over from Buzz (who will be training militia with Quitch), and while Buzz is fighting, she can patch up people during the fight as well as after. She's free too.

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Loot from the second Omerta section. The wirecutters, canteen and first aid kit all go to Ira. I need to get her a second gun.

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And it's off to Drassen! We need to tale and hold the mine, otherwise I'm gonna find myself awfully short of mercs. I don't want to cheese this by skipping the central sector and thus avoiding the counter-attack, nor game it by skipping the middle and taking the mine before anything else. What I am happy to do is take the first two sectors, train militia, and only then take the final sector... depending on what my merc contracts allow me to do.

I'll probably fight Drassen without militia, because they don't tend to care who is in the way of their shots, but I'm going to need some to fight the counter-attack. I beat it off with an almost identical merc crew fighting alone on Novice, but for Experienced I'd feel happier with some militia out there.

If anyone can tell me what Sun Goggles do or what the canteen is for, I'd appreciate it... and what do those X/Y numbers for armour mean?

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Post by storz » Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:05 pm

Quitch wrote:If anyone can tell me what Sun Goggles do or what the canteen is for, I'd appreciate it... and what do those X/Y numbers for armour mean?
If I remember correctly, sun goggles give you bonus in sighting and to hit chance in day light. and canteen can refill your stimina bar (the blue bar) if you are out of breath by running too hard.

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Post by Andy22 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:49 pm

Worst. Voiced. Line. Ever. And that includes all of Spellforce 2.
Man you're not kidding. So bad you almost thought it intentionally bad.

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Post by Grey Fox » Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:17 pm

You should know that turning on Enemies drop all items messes with some of the settings in 1.13. I think I read that somewhere in the ini file.

And btw, Hollow Point ammo, is that especially good vs light armored targets? Or what it's deal. I'm not good with guns and stuff, but it's details isn't really specific.
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Post by Grey Fox » Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:26 pm

storz wrote:If I remember correctly, sun goggles give you bonus in sighting and to hit chance in day light. and canteen can refill your stimina bar (the blue bar) if you are out of breath by running too hard.
The googles should be for accuracy during day time. And the canteen can refill your stamina, but using it on the Full Body thing in the inventory, you know the Guy or Girl image (not your avatar), and you click while holding it for a sip.

EDIT: And how do you fight offensively with militia? Can you only do it from one sector to another in the same town, or can you bring militia from Drassen to Cambria?

EDIT2: And btw, Bobby Ray's Guns and Stuff (or something), is a Website you can get access to once you have the airfield in Drassen. You can get to it the first time from the Links section of A.I.M. He sells guns, med kits, etc etc.
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Post by Quitch » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:07 pm

Thanks everyone for the canteen tip.
Andy22 wrote:Man you're not kidding. So bad you almost thought it intentionally bad.
It does rather contrast with her later lines.
Dreadnought wrote:You should know that turning on Enemies drop all items messes with some of the settings in 1.13. I think I read that somewhere in the ini file.

And btw, Hollow Point ammo, is that especially good vs light armored targets? Or what it's deal. I'm not good with guns and stuff, but it's details isn't really specific.
It doesn't conflict, it just means the new drop tables that 1.13 has aren't used, which doesn't matter because they're now dropping everything they have. Only fair IMO.

I'm wrong about it being hollow point BTW, that's the blue ammo. In fact it's glazer ammo. Like hollow point it's designed for unarmoured targets, but moreso.
Dreadnought wrote:The googles should be for accuracy during day time. And the canteen can refill your stamina, but using it on the Full Body thing in the inventory, you know the Guy or Girl image (not your avatar), and you click while holding it for a sip.

EDIT: And how do you fight offensively with militia? Can you only do it from one sector to another in the same town, or can you bring militia from Drassen to Cambria?

EDIT2: And btw, Bobby Ray's Guns and Stuff (or something), is a Website you can get access to once you have the airfield in Drassen. You can get to it the first time from the Links section of A.I.M. He sells guns, med kits, etc etc.
I tried taking goggles off while aiming at a crate and I never saw a change in accuracy, but I'll check with a few enemies. Maybe it needs to be a certain brightness, or outside...

The default in 1.13 is to allow militia (both enemy and friendly) to reinforce adjacent sectors. If you fill a town with friendly militia you can then build roaming militia, who if they are adjacent to a sector you attack (town only I think, maybe) then you can call them into the battle and they enter from the relevant side. Made Cambria a cakewalk last time, but cost me in the long-term I think as I dallied there too long.

You can only have twenty militia (per side) in a sector at any one time, but this is going to make the Drassen counter even nastier as for each guy you kill, another one enters from the side. I may find myself wishing I'd looked for a leadership merc.

That's where Bobby Ray's is? Shit, I never noticed :) Ah well, there was plenty of loot last time.

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Post by Grey Fox » Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:30 am

So, since I'm new to this site and the Concept of AAR, what does it mean? The only thing I can think of is Another Amazing Report :p
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Post by Skeptic » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:53 am

None of the pics are showing up for me.
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Post by Quitch » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:50 am

AAR = After Action Report

I've exceeded my bandwidth allowance, woo! :) They didn't just shut my site down, they deleted it, bitches.

I'll have to find another place to host my pics. Thankfully I've kept the pics on my HD. Phew.

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Post by Papageno » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:31 am

Skeptic wrote:None of the pics are showing up for me.
Same here. Just a bunch of "broken image" icons. Using the latest Firefox 1.5.x

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Post by Quitch » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:08 pm

See the post above yours :)

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Post by Quitch » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:46 pm

Pics are back, let's see how long PhotoBucket lasts.

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Post by Grey Fox » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:54 pm

Looking at the pictures, you never seem to crouch. Crouch is your friend, at least it is for me. (Page down to crouch, page down again to prone, page up to reverse it)

It makes you a smaller target, you are probably stealthier, and you are probably a more accurate shot too.

I'm a Night-Ops and stealth kinda guy, so most of the time my guys spend crouching and in stealth mode (Z key). It sometimes amazes me how close you can sneak up on someone that isn't faced in your direction while crouching and in stealth mode. Hopefully you have a silencer, and enough AP to finish the job when you get close enough. ;)
With Night-Ops expert, and NVG gen II, I can usually see my enemy before they see me. At day, the enemy seems to always get that lucky shot in, while my mercs are struggling with the range, so I hate fighting at daytime.

Another useful thing is strafing, it's not really sideways, but backwards. If you hold Alt before you click behind you for example, the merc will walk backwards in that direction. Good if you wanna look into a window, or back away from the wall to see the roof. Or to move back when you are lying rooftop, etc. It costs about 1 more AP than regular movement, but you save it from having to turn around every time, which costs 6 AP proning, and 2 AP crouching.
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Post by Quitch » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:39 pm

I had no need to crouch in that mission. The targets are weak and unarmoured with minimal weaponry. I think it's better to use those two APs to improve my accuracy rather than sitting there with a minor bonus to avoidance and letting them get off two shots at me. Better to kill them I think. I don't like to crouch at the end of every move either (as the AI often does) because it's a drain on AP, and if I'm surprised I want to get out of there, not be forced to lie in the middle of the street because I got hit and it drained my AP too much to stand up and run.

Had I missed with shots I'd probably have stepped into cover rather than crouched. When I hit the airport I'll be crouching and going prone all over the place :) Oh, and I prefer to use the letter hotkeys for stances.

I've never seen crouch affect accuracy, I ran a few checks when I started playing. Plus you have to balance any accuracy you may gain against the two AP it costs to crouch.

I worship the day, can't stand the night. Give me a daytime urban op and I will be a happy man. I detest the rain and night.

I strafed in this mission on several occasions. Note the description of Buns's first kill, and Steroid stepping out to scout the roof. Both strafe. I actually use this a lot, step out, headshot, step in. With hollow point bullets you can really do a lot of damage this way. I don't generally have much use for backwards, though as you say, on roofs, and sometimes when prone and under fire.

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Post by Grey Fox » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:54 pm

It doesn't cost any AP to be crouched if you were crouched to begin with :P
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Post by Quitch » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:22 pm

But unless you intend to stay there, or you're feeling exposed, I don't want to be crouching.... anyway, here comes another battle for you to judge me by, I mean, that one is a cakewalk I can do it in my sleep now.

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Meanwhile, poor Elliot is getting slapped around. We'll be keeping track of Elliot's face as it gets more bruised and battered across the course of the game.

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Heading towards Drassen we run into a patrol in the same place we always run into a patrol when heading to Drassen. Sometimes it's as many as seven guys, but we got lucky, it's only five.

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Being lazy I just hit Spread and find Buzz and Quitch on the flanks and Ira in the centre. I can live with that. The plan will be similar to Omerta, with Buns and Steroid distracting in the centre while Quitch and Buzz flank. Ira will provide fire support or medical aid as needs be.

We advance, with Buzz using the rocky cover of the North and Quitch moving South of the road.

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Buns spots the first enemy, their back turned. I suspect most enemies are positioned around the road there, so Buzz drops out of stealth and begins to sprint through the Northern rocks. Quitch meanwhile breaks into a stealthy sprint to the South. Steroid and Buns continue to advance, hoping to make it into the cover of the rocks before being spotted. Ira lurks in the West treeline.

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Buzz finds another enemy in the North and drops into a crouch being at the end of her AP. The enemy is a couple of tiles outside her weapons range.

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Crap! The soldier on the road turns and spots Steroid, opening fire on him from well outside her range. All the shots miss, but both Steroid and Buns are well outside the area I wanted them in and it's impossible to dash from the tree to the rocks and go crouched or prone... not that the former would help at that range. I decide to use Steroid to draw her attention while Buns tries to flank her from the North.

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Meanwhile Quitch continues to advance around the South in an attempt to flank the enemy I assume will be drawn towards Steroid.

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Giving up all pretence of stealth, Buzz breaks into a run and dives behind rock, making a whole hell of a lot of noise and undoubtedly alerting the soldier nearby, but by going prone she's put herself nicely out of sight. We'll be popping up again soon.

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Damn! Quitch has come under fire during his move. No doubt enemies turning to face Steroid have caught sight of him. I should have stayed closer to the South edge. Their fire takes off Quitch's last few APs, leaving him exposed. Oh dear.

Buns has also been spotted by the soldier she was trying to flank and takes a hit.

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Popping up, Buzz can see the enemy soldier in a crouched run coming towards her. The angle of the shot is not good and the odds are low and remain unchanged no matter how many AP are thrown at it. I switch her to burst and put all 15 AP into a seven or eight bullet salvo...

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...and down she goes.

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Quitch, having survived a round under fire, takes a look at his opposition and finds three soldiers, almost hand-in-hand, just SE of the road. Showing the leadership qualities he's known for, he runs behind the nearest rock and eats the dirt.

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Meanwhile in the centre Steroid continues to come under fire as he advances, with Buns's covering fire failing to distract her target...

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...but his advance does show that the foes of Quitch have moved back towards the centre. Foolish.

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Despite being well outside her range, Buns continues to fire. If I move her into range, then that will work both ways, and I'd rather she fire while Steroid advances since she's already prone and he's just plain tougher. Cracking off three shots she gets lucky and lands two home taking the soldier to critical levels.

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Deciding the AP hit of this will make a rush safe, I bring up Ira, who had been moved North of Buns for yet another flank attempt of the central soldier. With Buzz's foe dead, and the other three soldiers in known positions, I have her rush and try for a lucky shot to finish off this critical soldier. Unfortunately she misses, but the soldier returns fire on Buns and misses.

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Quitch resumes his stealth jog and thinks happy thoughts at the burst fire death he is about to bring to his unarmoured foes.

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As Steroid seems unable to hit anything, Buns finishes off the central soldier for him, clearing our advance on that wonderful rocky cover. Buzz meanwhile, finding herself outside maximum range of the soldiers on the road, moves West into the trees.

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Ira moves to backup Steroid and to cover the advance of Buns. No shots are fired, but she's in a green cover zone so I'm happy.

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One of the soldiers on the road breaks ranks and rushes forward, getting a lucky hit on Steroid. The counter-fire from Buzz, Ira and Steroid takes the bitch down.

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Quitch... still sneaking... lazy bastard...

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Ira comes under some intense fire as the remaining two prove tricky targets.

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I take a risk and put Quitch right behind them, gambling that the fire from their front is keeping them too busy to even hear what's going on behind them.

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Ira surprises us all by landing two hits on the left soldier, despite being well outside maximum range. For Alruco! The soldier isn't dead, but lies there dying on the road. Buzz fires on the right soldier and reduces them to critical status. Meanwhile Steroid advances across open ground to close down that last solder.

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Finally, Quitch gets to use his gun and finishes off the last soldier with a near point-blank shot.

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After everyone is bandaged comes the loot, which is of course all pistols, but they're not bad pistols. Definately some swapsies to do here. 23 damage, 11 range, 5AP and taking 9x19mm ammo. Not to be sniffed at.

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Buzz gets a better reserve pistol than anyone else, because I love her.

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And with that it's onto Drassen again! I'll need to take a look at those pistols again though, I don't think I reloaded everyone.

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So, what did we learn? I think this battle raised some serious questions about the core of my tactics, that is, Buzz and Quitch going down the flanks. Both flankers got up close and personal at least once, while the centre engaged at range over open ground. Quitch and Buzz should have accompanied Ira down the centre, pinning the road and making the open ground work for them, while Buns and Steroid flanked, preferably with Steroid taking the more isolated Southern route due to his higher health.

I also need to stop using pistols with glazer ammo on people at critical. It's a waste. Same for long range suppression fire.

Next up will be the airport battle, and this is the first time I've fought it with wirecutters. I'll discuss tactics more closer to the time.

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Post by Massena » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:29 pm

Dreadnought wrote:
I'm a Night-Ops and stealth kinda guy, so most of the time my guys spend crouching and in stealth mode (Z key). It sometimes amazes me how close you can sneak up on someone that isn't faced in your direction while crouching and in stealth mode. Hopefully you have a silencer, and enough AP to finish the job when you get close enough. ;)
With Night-Ops expert, and NVG gen II, I can usually see my enemy before they see me. At day, the enemy seems to always get that lucky shot in, while my mercs are struggling with the range, so I hate fighting at daytime.
Heh, yeah I tend to make my assaults at night too, especially after I get some rifles and NVG's. I'm also a big BIG fan of the throwing knives. Send in Shadow, or another uber, with NVG's in stealth. If you hit an unaware guy in the head you kill him, generally. To be safe, I usually back up the uber with some guys who have rifles, just in case he misses or is seen).

Dammit. I don't have the time to start this game up. I haven't played it in years. But I'm starting to feel the call.

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Post by Quitch » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:31 pm

I haven't had NVG during the night yet. I got ambushed on the road during the night once and it was nasty. Have avoided night ever since. Maybe when I get some better equipment I'll give it a go.

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Post by Grey Fox » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:38 pm

I usually attack the airport from the north
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Post by Massena » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:42 pm

Quitch wrote:I haven't had NVG during the night yet. I got ambushed on the road during the night once and it was nasty. Have avoided night ever since. Maybe when I get some better equipment I'll give it a go.
If I remember right, one of the best things to do if you're fighting at night is to get your group close enough to support each other, go prone, and then make some noise. Have someone fire a shot, anything that makes the enemy come running to you. Like lambs to the slaughter. NVG really help that though, even if it's just one guy who can act as a spotter.

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Post by Skeptic » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:14 pm

Yeah one good thing about JA2 is that even the most non-conventional strategies and tactics can prove valuable to someone and preferences are just that...preferences. My own leanings tend to contrast greatly with Quitch's in that I do not allow anyone to end a turn standing because they are much easier to be hit that way and I use backwards movement more often than sidestepping/strafing, but I can chalk that up to being influenced heavily by the other vets and just plain personal preference.


BTW I am loving reading this thing! It inspired me to start a new game myself and even to try a few things differently than I have in the past.
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Post by Sponge » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:33 pm

Fabulous AAR! Thanks, man.

I know what's going on my new laptop now.... :)

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Post by daedalus » Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:03 am

Dreadnought wrote:And btw, Hollow Point ammo, is that especially good vs light armored targets? Or what it's deal. I'm not good with guns and stuff, but it's details isn't really specific.
Yes, that's what you want to use hollow points for (lightly armored targets).

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Post by daedalus » Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:12 am

While I don't necessarily agree with maxing out marksmanship, one side effect that is not mentioned enough is that you start out with a much more viable weapon (80+ used to be MP5, don't know if that's been changed). That can be HUGE when you are struggling to match up with the bad guys in early games. I don't know that I would have taken dexterity down all the way to 35 but I agree with having it be mediocre. Dexterity raises insanely fast, if you don't mind wasting some tool kits and medical kits (I have no concrete proof but I feel like they go through them much faster at lesser skill). I also don't tend to go terribly high with leadership. Just enough to get by. Did you have a specific reason in mind for high leadership (only asking in case you thought of something I had not)?

Buns is basically on all my squads. My list also always include Wolf (because, y'know, "Wolfie, you're the best!") and Barry Unger who very quickly becomes an economy Trevor. Whenever I save up enough money to renew Buns for about 2 months (she levels and improves INSANELY fast so it's worth it to tie up money in her), I end up bringing Fox in as field medic. Just because. My other favourite field medic is Blood who I generally use as an advance scout, doubled with Razor, since those two can silent kill even decently armoured snipers in early games. On the topic of Razor, I consider him the most underrated of mercs. He's cheap and remains so and he shoots much better than his low marksmanship would suggest (which I've always thought was due to his outstanding "secondary" stats like dexterity). And, hey, he's entertaining.

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Post by Quitch » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:20 am

I've minned dex because, AFAIK it's used to throw stuff and work with both tools and medical kits. Besides the odd grenade Quitch won't be doing any of that.

Leadership is used in the training of militia. I'll later on grab another merc with a high leadership and really pump out those militia. Once you've filled a town the new ones go on patrol, so I can own the countryside and have support in taking towns. The longer I delay the more powerful the enemy get, so fast militia is a must for me.

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Post by Quitch » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:38 pm

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We entered Drassen airport from the West. Steroid has taken a bit of a beating but I'm hoping he'll keep a clean sheet on this one. It also seems Buns is a little out of shape, but otherwise we're good.

My experience with this map has led me to expect the main opposition to be around the gate. Sometimes there are enemies on the roof of the East building outside the wire. If there are I will be staying out of range and waiting for them to descend. I always find an enemy by the plane, and he's always a pain in the ass to kill usually doing more damage than all the other enemies on the map put together. I expect to face about six enemies.

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I decide to split the team in two. Quitch, Buns and Ira will enter from the North, cutting through the wire and clearing out the airstrip, moving then to the gate. Meanwhile Buzz and Steroid will engage the main gate directly.

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Ira cuts through the fence.

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Buzz spots the first enemy, earlier than expected, they're usually closer to the gate. I decide to get in close for an easy kill and hope she doesn't turn around. It's a yellow shirt.

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Meanwhile the Northern team get to it. I was hoping to handle the airfield in real-time, but Buzz spotted earlier than expected, so instead Buns and Ira will clear the airfield while Quitch sweeps the buildings. Buns moves North for an extreme flanking of the plane.

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Unfortunately Buzz is spotted by another enemy to the SE who opens fire, but misses by a mile. Buzz treats the shots with the contempt they deserve. A third guy joins the party. Nice.

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Checking the cover situation we see the Buzz is comfortably out of range, leaving her clear to open on the nearest soldier, crouching to the East. However, that green will turn to darker shade the second the nearby soldier turns around.

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I intended for Buzz to fire a burst of three and then crouch, but she goes psycho and fires an additional six rounds. Target bites the dust, but Buzz is left standing.

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And ANOTHER soldier turns up. Jesus. Were they holding are barbecue out here or something? Thankfully this is rifle Vs. pistols and range is my friend.

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And Buzz neatly fells another as Steroid runs to catch up. With her remaining AP Buzz drops to a crouch.

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Due to the numbers in the South fight I speed up the airport sweep, dropping stealth. I intend to sweep past the nose with Ira while Buns approaches from the rear.

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One of the enemy gets one hell of a lucky hit.

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But now Steroid is in play, and while the range may not be great, he will at least add a little more to the general suppression fire.

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Or not.

We also take fire from the rear, but spotted nothing on the way in. Reinforcements must have come in from the adjoining Drassen sector to the South. Suddenly Steroid and Buzz find themselves in a bit of a pickle.

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Steroid checks the rear but sees nothing, so that leaves us with little choice but to clear the enemies in front to get us out of this rat trap. Buzz puts another one down (isn't she great?)...

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...while Quitch ignores the buildings on the assumption that enemies within would already have emerged by now. Buzz and Steroid need help, and he's well positioned to take on the one by the gate if he can get there.

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Taking further fire from behind both Steroid and Buzz scan their surroundings again, with Steroid catching sight of an enemy entering from the South. We're still taking fire from the West though. The enemy by the gate hasn't come close to hitting so I'm leaving him for Quitch while Buzz and Steroid working on dealing with their rear attacker.

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50/50 odds and enough points for two shots...

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...but one is enough as the glazer ammo tears him to pieces.

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We finally catch sight of our rear foe. I don't like the position of Buzz and Steroid so I order them to move towards the gate which offers rather more complete cover.

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Meanwhile Ira and Buns have completed their sweep of the airstrip and found NOTHING. First time for everything, but damn if that hasn't drained my resources for no good reason. I immediately send them back towards the hole in the wire with the intention of flanking the known enemy, completely forgetting that Ira is carrying wire cutters and can make new holes.

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The enemy advance on Buzz's new position.

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Steroid engages the other soldier to the South, but she proves a much better shot than him. 22? From out of range? Ouch! I hope I can get him back to full health before the Drassen counter-attack.

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MONSTER KILL!! Buzz is doing the side proud as she takes down another enemy soldier.

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And Lordy if it isn't ANOTHER soldier. Still, Quitch has joined Steroid by the sign so now we've got a little range to aid Buzz. Steroid himself is rather stranded. It's too dangerous to advance, but from his current position he isn't going to do anything.

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Quitch can't do much from this range as the female soldier joins her male colleague, so I move him back into the base with the intention of positioning him along the wire in case they try to rush Buzz, though as can be seen she's keeping them back with some crack shooting.

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I sent Steroid out to flank the pair on the road, but I think it will be over before he gets there, so now I have Ira tending to his wounds before they get a chance to worsen.

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The female scores a couple of hits on Quitch with some burst fire while her male colleague beats a hasty retreat.

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She is appropriately punished by Buzz, lord of the rifle, who shows Quitch (who didn't hit dick) how it's done.

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We make a last ditched attempt to catch the final retreating soldier, but he makes it off-map.

With the enemies clear, we stop to talk to the locals.

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Seems there's a pilot nearby... in the swamp... possibly called Skyrider...

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Meanwhile Steroid gets busy looting. Thank God someone can pick locks. That silencer will come in REAL handy.

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Loot from the sector. Duct tape? Not found a use yet. Do I need fuel on me for Skyrider, or does it need to be at Drassen? A little disappointed in the ammo on display here.

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Quitch gets the silencer because I feel his weapon gives me more options and when you need to be sure of the kill I'd like to be able to burst fire.

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I throw a gun with hollow point bullets to Steroid to give him more options. He's a strong lad and it barely affects his allowance.

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Buns gets another first aid kit, taken from Ira.

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And this is because Ira is getting another medical kit.

All remaining guns are sold, ammo is kept.

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Sweatshop here we come.

This mission didn't go too bad, apart from the hit Steroid took when I got a little sloppy and left him open like that. I could really do with a second rifle... I believe that Bobby Ray's may be available to me now? Still, I need my money right now, so later maybe. Not much I would change here, though I should have cleared the airfield faster, and held Buzz back in real-time until I was almost there.

I was surprised that I faced only four enemies on the map... there were seven total, but three were reinforcements. Only four?? Are yellow shirts tougher than red? Certainly saw automatic fire (from Skorpions) which I don't recall getting before. However, they seemed to die very easily.

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Post by Grey Fox » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:46 pm

I started my character this time with 85 Health, 85 STR, 75 Dex, 70 Markmanship, 85 Wisdom, 85 Agilitiy, 0 Leadership, 0 Expl, 25 Medic and 25 Mech, or something like that

You can even train up leadership from 0 now, by practicing or being student (preferably to an Expert Trainer with good stats in it).

So my char has 3 in leadership now. Which kinda sucks, I forgot to bring someone with decent leadership with me, and I met Hamous or whatever the icecream truck guy is named on the road and I couldn't recruit him cause of my bad leadership. (When I had taken Chitzena, and was guiding those Americans to the airport)
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Post by Grey Fox » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:12 pm

Yellow shirts should be easier than Red. Usually no protection.

I think it's Yellow -> Red -> Black for the enemy and Green -> Lightblue -> Dark blue for your militia

Don't remember if they come in any harder versions than black. Is there a camo soldier? Don't remember...

Damn, a silencer. I forgot bringing someone who could pick locks. Last time I played, a year ago or so, I had Magic from the start, which was great. One man army for sure. :P

There was something else I was going to post but forgot what it was while i read your report :P
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Post by ChrisGrenard » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:05 pm

I'm starting up the game right now as well. With regards to the 1.13 mod, check this out. It looks like there are 4 mini-updates to help things along. Don't know if you need them or not.
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Post by ChrisGrenard » Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:20 am

Oh yeah, and P.S. I suck at this game. Second mission, against some roaming random enemies and I lost my entire squad. :(
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Post by Skeptic » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:34 am

I generally avoid Buns at all costs due to her hating a bunch of cool mercs and/or a bunch of cool mercs refusing to work with her. She is a decent buy as far as stats vs. price though.

My list of preferred mercs:


In the beginning...

Stat-wise, WISDOM is of primary importance for me, followed by AGILITY, MARKS./EXPL./MEDIC.(whichever I need them for primarily), HEALTH, STRENGTH(Though this is less important in 1.13 because you can sell off excess loot from the sector map) and so on.


Barry Unger - His stats are insane for how much he costs. Only drawback is that he does not start with a toolbox or a good gun.

Raven or Buzz(depends on my mood and who else I plan on recruiting for that game) - Raven's only drawback is you will be hurting for the 5.56 ammo she needs for her gun until you take Drassen airport. She starts with like 20 bullets and no enemies drop that ammo until later. But either her or Buzz are capable of single-handedly taking down Omerta + road encounters + Drassen if you play your cards right.

Buzz has the added benefit of having one of the funniest dialog lines in game upon killing Doreen and most people do not even know about it it seems.

Ira - Duh! She's free, an expert in teaching and a decent medic.


Wolf - Sometimes I grab him just to have someone who is not hated who starts with a toolbox and decent gear.

Steroid - I almost never take him long term because he is hated by too many cool mercs I want later(or even earlier in the case of Igor and Fox). But he is a good buy stat-wise(and cheap!) and starts with a toolbox and lockpicks.

Igor - Another good buy(cheap with good stats) for the long term but not if taking Steroid(until after I fire that sod!).

After some money starts rolling in...

Thor - Probably the best buy in the game(yes, even better than Cougar). Can even be had in the beginning because he requires no medical deposit and only costs 10k for a full week. His stats are freaking insane!! Str, Dex, Agl, Hlth, are all 83+ and Wisdom is like 94!! Good medic. Skills are not jaw dropping but they work(Stealth and...HtH? can't remember).

Razor - I always get this guy. Not entirely sure why except he is entertaining and(like all the M.E.R.C. guys) cheap! His stats are not bad(some of them are actually very good) and he can run up and knife someone like no one else.

Plus it is a good idea to be hiring M.E.R.C. guys from the word GO because it enables them to employ better guys available later(Like Cougar, Numb, Stogie and that French sniper-guy).

Gumpy - I know...his MECH. skill is '0' and he has "Electronics" as a specialty(a waste) but in 1.13 you can train stats from '0' so it is no so bad anymore(though I honestly never bothered to raise his MECH. skill that high anyway). He has good WISDOM and decent STRENGTH and he is entertaining(especially on the rare occasions when I play Sci-Fi mode).


Fox or Dr. Q depending on whether my IMP is a martial artist or who else I plan on hiring. I my IMP is a MA or I plan on getting someone(or have hired someone already) like Blood then I will grab Fox(her sexual innuendos are priceless!). Dr. Q. has better stats & skills though.


Later...

As soon as I am able, I grab...

Numb - Good merc and he is punk rock!


Cougar - Very good buy/bang for the buck.


Stogie - One of M.E.R.C.'s best!



Gaston - Excellent merc as well.


Trevor - THE best mechanic/explosives guy in the game(Barry can eventually match, if not BEST him but will take a long time).


Hitman - Especially if I have Raven(they work well together). He is a teacher and a thrower(knives mostly. He is not strong enough to throw grenades far) but his stats are good for what he costs. He and Ira training militia together is like magic!
Spoiler:
Conrad - He is not worth what you pay for him at $3,500 a day but he is a great merc and funny as Hell sometimes!

MadDog - He just kicks ass and is free to boot!


Mercs I (usually)avoid...

Buns - Does not work well with others.

Bubba - Hated by many and WAY overpriced! Mildly entertaining though if you are into rednecks...

Flo - 'Nuff said.

Biff - See 'Flo'

Nails - Even if you are smart and do not buy his starting equipment, whatever vest you put on him first becomes his permanent vest. This causes problems.

Shank - Utterly worthless. Worse than Flo even at $20 a day.


And several others but I will shut up now.


Loving this AAR BTW! Your efforts are appreciated.
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Post by Shinjin » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:32 am

Skeptic wrote: Mercs I (usually)avoid...

Flo - 'Nuff said.

I usually pick up Flo as a cheap militia trainer and just keep her out of combat.

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Post by LordMortis » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:19 am

I have the urge to break this one out again. I was never great. I remember usually getting the uber expensive mercs as they were more dependable. I also remember taking the time to knife or punch every single crow or cow or anything I could find, to try and beef up skills before shit got way hard at the end. I never did finish the game either. I'm pretty certain I made to the end game though, where you had to kill, Mike?, was it? That's where the game alwasy got to be a bitch.

I loved shooting through roofs and such.

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Post by Massena » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:20 am

Shinjin wrote:
Skeptic wrote: Mercs I (usually)avoid...

Flo - 'Nuff said.

I usually pick up Flo as a cheap militia trainer and just keep her out of combat.
Yeah, Flo is one of the only early MERC types that I pick up. She just trains away and carries stuff from the airport to the front lines. Usually with Ira or Hamous or some of the other freebies.

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Post by Grey Fox » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:35 am

Yeah I always take Flo, she is cheap, has Trainer as skill, and she has pretty decent wisdom (if memory serves me right). I usually hire her and Gumpy as soon as they are available, and put them on Militia duty. Gumpy has especially nice Wisdom.
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Post by Carpet_pissr » Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:09 pm

Go Quitch, Go! Loving this so far, and I generally never read AAR's. (exception being an absolutely great job on a Civ IV one right when it came out - another site though)

Anyway...I have fired up JA2 Gold myself, and installed 1.13. Played and finished both JA1 and JA2 when they first came out, so I am not a newbie.

But, some questions, if you don't mind (or anybody, really, reading this):

1. What the hell is that color map in one of your screen shots? Shows red, green, etc. Is that an alternate AP range map or something? If so, how does one turn it on?

2. How are you getting the text at bottom left of your screen like "50% to hit" - I do not see that.

3. In playing just the first scenario, (playing on Experienced), it seems a lot easier than I remember it. I am consistently hitting people with a .38 from way far outside the range, according to the game (it shows "outside of effective gun range". Any thoughts on that? Would 1.13 have broken or changed something in regard to that as far as you know? Could be just because I am on the first scenario and everything is uber easy.

The only changes I made to the ini were resolution and FALSE to the counter attack dealie.

It's been so long since I played the first time, that I can't really say about the other changes that 1.13 implements.

Keep up the AAR! Looking forward to the next battle!

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Post by Shinjin » Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Carpet_pissr wrote: 1. What the hell is that color map in one of your screen shots? Shows red, green, etc. Is that an alternate AP range map or something? If so, how does one turn it on?
Red/green map is a cover overlay. This was introduced along with a line of sight overlay in Unfinished Business, and added to the main game when Gold was released. For the cover overlay it basically shows relative chance to be hit from known enemies. You can sometimes use this to determine just which tile is 'behind' the tree you are using as cover.

The LOS overlay is basically the reverse. It let's you know how well you can see the enemies.
Carpet_pissr wrote:2. How are you getting the text at bottom left of your screen like "50% to hit" - I do not see that.
It's one of the options. 'Show Weapon Ranges in Tiles' maybe?

Carpet_pissr wrote:3. In playing just the first scenario, (playing on Experienced), it seems a lot easier than I remember it. I am consistently hitting people with a .38 from way far outside the range, according to the game (it shows "outside of effective gun range". Any thoughts on that? Would 1.13 have broken or changed something in regard to that as far as you know? Could be just because I am on the first scenario and everything is uber easy.
It's probably primarily from being on the first encounter. But you always could still make decent shots when outside effective weapon range, if I recall correctly.

LordMortis wrote:I'm pretty certain I made to the end game though, where you had to kill, Mike?
Mike is about two thirds of the way through. And yeah, that bit is tough. But I always thought it was a shining example of what made the game so good. The character interactions and continuity with some of the mercs from JA1 is too cool. (Killing the queen was the end-game - also pretty tough.)

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