Rational decision making on Basic Research

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Kamikaze Samurai
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Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Kamikaze Samurai » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:41 am

Basic research gives more scientist-days (SD) in the long run but caused a delay in researching more useful things, which can make it a tricky decision.

My conclusion is this should be the first tech you research, it is advantageous to do it again some time in the first 2 months, but a third time is inadvisable.

I concluded this by considering the up front costs, long term benefits, and the point in time at which it switches over from less research to more.

I just started a new game with basic research first and immediately bought the black market scientist, and it was finished on March 18 with an approximate cost of 50 SD. That means the tech will add more research than it cost every day after day 68. I estimate the long term benefit based on the total accumulated value at day 180 because that's around the time that the Andromedons and elite soldiers need to be dealt with. On day 180 I will have an additional 112 SD in research because of the tech.

After taking 3 days to research Resistance Communication I started the second basic research with a reported time of 19 days. Since I now get 4 SD per day (2 from Tyan, 1 from the black market and 1 from basic research), I conclude that the second basic research costs 75 SD. After buying the day 22 scientist from the market it should be completed around day 35, start producing a positive effect on day 110, and add 70 SD by day 180.

This is a worst case scenario that omits the possibility of building a lab or rescuing scientists.
The cumulative effect of both basic research projects will be 182 SD on day 180, which is equivalent to starting the game with a free scientist.

Projecting these numbers forward doesn't look good for doing it again. If it follows the pattern and the third project costs 100 SD to research, and I have 10 SD per day after buying the lab and a few rescues then it would complete on day 45, start producing a positive effect on day 145, and provide 35 SD of additional research by day 180. That extra 35 SD of research is clearly not enough to compensate for 110 days of being behind schedule.

Those are my thoughts on tbe matter.
Does anyone else see things differently?

Dwarfling
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Dwarfling » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:01 am

I'd say taking another big delay on weapon tech for an advantage that will pay off so late might not be worth it, specially when you're on a race between Coil and T3.

Kamikaze Samurai
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Kamikaze Samurai » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:28 pm

The second one is definitely debateable, but the calculations above show it provides a net increase prior to T3.

The cumulative effect of both project gives increased resrarch starting on day 90.

Dwarfling
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Dwarfling » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:57 pm

Wait, you're talking about doing one after the other? I guess that might fly on lower difficulties but I'd rather not fight Scouts, MECs and multi-Snake pods with ballistics. Sure in paper it says it pays off, but you're really wasting the windows of opportunity that having superior weapon tech vs force level provide. Just by getting Lasers before T2 shows up (when you still see a lot of T1 sentries, gunners, grenadiers, etc) makes the period when you're doing your first liberation chain a lot easier and you give it up for... ?

Kamikaze Samurai
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Kamikaze Samurai » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:00 pm

You might be right.

I'm trying it out this game and going to tough it out with ballistics as long as I can.

In any case I posted the calculation methodology to give people a way of knowing exactly what the return on investment is for basic research.

Phaseless
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Phaseless » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:42 pm

Oh yes I'm getting a taste right now of fighting T3 with magnetics
Not
fun
I've done 3 or 4 basic research and paying the price now
Had to abort 2 of the last few missions with several dead and wounded
Although in part the problem was me not compensating by sending more soldiers

Kamikaze Samurai
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Kamikaze Samurai » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:10 pm

My last game cratered soon after the Andromedons showed up.

I made a lot of mistakes and one of them was using too many scientists as advisors instead of doing research. I was trying to max out detection of convoys and UFOs, but fell behind in the technology race.

This game I set out to maximize the research I get done by mid-September and have concluded that 2 early basic research projects is the optimal solution.

The trade off boils down to starting everything a month late but with 2 more scientists.

gimrah
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by gimrah » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:25 pm

I think it comes down to how comfortable you are being slightly behind on tech at various stages.

You should be able to do a basic research and still get to lasers by the time MECs show up. You couldn't do two.

My last two campaigns I've tried non-standard build orders with mag rush and psi rush respectively. Both require at least one basic research and make you late to weapons.

My experience is you can last quite well with ballistics. Snakes require you bring a lot of flashbangs. You should consider using more shotguns on soldiers you might otherwise give SMGs (no point getting a flank for a tickle). You do need one AP ammo in every squad for drones and especially for MECs. Centre mass becomes more valuable as an early perk. MECs are the most dangerous with ballistics and need to be respected. But by MECs you should be close to weapons even on a tech rush build.

FWIW I can recommend mag rush as a viable or even superior strategy to the usual order. Once you get mag you will absolutely dominate Advent for a while, which helps snowball, provided you can get to early May on ballistics. Psi rush hasn't paid off yet (September). I will have some powerful end game characters I wouldn't otherwise have but that doesn't compensate being behind on tech for the whole campaign up to there.

I haven't run the numbers but I wouldn't do single basic research even in a standard build order. But probably not two. The prize in that case (a day or two on each future tech) is not decisive enough in the strategic layer to warrant prolonging ballistics.

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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Psieye » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:10 pm

Agreed that Mecs are the big bump in the earlygame if you delay Laser: "I have fat HP, 2 armour, high mobility and don't waste my time worrying about being flanked. I will out-maneuveur your guys while suppressing them then slam them with my huge gun that can oneshot puny fleshbags. If you bunch up to focus fire on me while not exposing yourself to my podmates, I will guarantee you end up in the medbay. You have one turn to solve me."

In all my recent campaigns, their debut has prompted me to ask: "do I really need to fight that Mec? Is this mission worth it?" Typically a FitH technical is on hand to solve the Mec - they give away their presence by stomping around so I know to save the rocket.


As for Mag rush, it influences which classes get earlygame attention in the barracks. I'm a snapshot sniper officer guy by default, so skipping laser really hurts my barracks composition. Having tried a Mag rush, I did not like it. There are many times when I want a soldier to have "better than ballistics" and with Mag rush I'm forced to buy a Mag weapon when a Laser weapon would suffice. I can still push hard enough with Laser to secure a good position for the midgame.
My three 8-man GOp squad Commander campaigns:
1st
2nd
3rd

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SonnyWiFiHr
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by SonnyWiFiHr » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:13 pm

Electro - thermal weapons is my choice for that gap.
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Phaseless
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Phaseless » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:23 am

I personally use skynet to hack them
it's safe

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SonnyWiFiHr
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by SonnyWiFiHr » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:06 pm

Skynet :D :D :D :D
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gimrah
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by gimrah » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:31 pm

D'oh, I meant I WOULD do one basic research even in a standard build order. But probably not two.

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SonnyWiFiHr
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by SonnyWiFiHr » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:02 pm

My "humble" opinion
2x Basic research will free two scientist for mission detection
I do them when I have scientists to research them quite quickly.
They do not pay off if you have one scientist.
You need more scientist to get more research - then they pay off quickly .
If you don't get scientists in second set of mission - good luck or expand.

Don't do them if they need lot of time. Delaying everything is not good thing. Buy second scientist than you can do them - I start at 4+.
This will free Scientist to detect important missions .
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gimrah
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by gimrah » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:08 am

That may well be good strategy. I confess I never use scientists to look for missions. I'm terrified of having an intel raid or vanilla retaliation in which the scientist can be easily murdered with little I can do about it.

I'm not that sophisticated about trying to detect specific missions. UFO precursors and supply raids require luck even with max scanning. Everything else you can get the next time around. I guess that does mean it takes me longer to liberate my first region, usually July.

Phaseless
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Phaseless » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:28 pm

I also don't think that scientists as haven managers are a good choice in most situations.
As I see it, you really want to detect faceless as soon as possible for various reasons, them interfering with resource collection and speeding up retals being some of the reasons.
Also not having the scientists do very important research for you to the maximum extent seems sub par effective to me. The game to a very large part is a race to the next weapon tier, and you trade in potentially several weeks of progress for a little better odds of detecting missions? Which isn't even necessary once you got a few regions going since you'll soon have to carefully choose your missions anyway since building your roster usually lags behind the possible number of missions you could do.

And yes, in case of retals you really want a military adviser to be part of that mission.

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SonnyWiFiHr
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by SonnyWiFiHr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:15 pm

They just need to be on post 3 days max. I cant rush without them or expand quickly.
1st region tower in tree weeks - can't detect without them ( I could select Basic research but I have one scientist)
2nd region usually spawn me with so bad timers that I wonder why I have even bother with it - I pick up lowest heaven to expand (usually 4 heaven and 1 str). I will stuck in this region. If I can get second scientist I use one of them to scan
3rd region can be without them but Strength will give me bad time and I don't have time for scanning. I will pick scientist or two here so I rush to pick them fast.

You are forgetting that I will rush as fast as I can to compensate lost research. If I can get 4 of them (I can get eng/soldier) what will be lost ?
I m ahead with research because now cost is more than halved.
I will buy another and than do 2 x Basic research after Laser (basic research will replace scientist on duty)

Risk vs reward . I can't turtle in one region with one scientist.
There is big flaw in that RND but i repeat that cycle until I do not care about scientist or research.
My goal is not 6 but more than 12. Right now I m trying to rush 5 regions on commander to get rookies ASAP and in quantity.
Most important soldiers for that are Specialist for hack and Shinobi to end crappy missions alone. I will sacrifice 75 aim Ranger to keep them un-wounded and alive. Grenadier = suicide mission to get scientist (strangely they can survive). If I lost to much of barracks I will delay HQ
I really do not care about 65 aim Ranger or any starting crappy soldiers.
If I can get Rookie factory on line -fast I will pick Alpha materiel. My scientist factory is on line from beginning .

New gamers - do not try that because you must know what missions will spawn and when and don't kill your rookies because I was writing something. Just skip my posts . I m trying something new
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Rittstar
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Rittstar » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:10 am

thats an interesting strategy, it had never come to my mind to play it that way, cause i hate to lose any soldier since xcom 1994.. but i guess in the next campaign i will force myself to send crappy soldiers on suizide missions, for a scientist or eng rescue mission.. but its true it needs a rookie factory for that matter asap

so next game instead building AWC, i will buy a scientist and put them in full intel haven.. but i play on legend and if i remember correctly LIB 2 cant spawn in the first month

the fastest i've ever had was liberate region in april with 10 squad on conventional guns, usually i aim for that all the time in the first contacted region, but in my actual and last campaign it was very hard to get any LIB chain missions on a acceptable infiltration time even with boost, and i dont had the intel to do so.. i guess i have to try to play missions your way, sacrificing a crappy soldier for the sake of getting a good reward

on top if it it should spawn a rescue mission? if the soldier is bleeding out or left behind?
Last edited by Rittstar on Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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SonnyWiFiHr
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by SonnyWiFiHr » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:39 pm

Don't try that on Legendary. It is not important.
Living rookie is worth more missions.

Early most important mission is jailbreak (if you get it). It will build up 1st haven cutting the time for rookie factory.
You can rush 2nd region if you did not have losses - this is valid but you will be out of intel and that can have cost.
Saving on intel by doing better mission in 2nd region is RNG.

My post were about exploiting system on lesser difficulties. Canceling mission (not finishing objective) is always valid but usually is high risk operation for some loot/exp. It seems that we all did 0%-50% infiltration missions even on commander and we forget how Legendary can be different and unforgiving.
To much HP on single target and bombs stop working and Shinobi is too valuable to risk it just to cancel the mission. VIp can die if not protected and solo rookie will not help much . I just used whole squad just to kill sectoid and even with red fog this thing can hit.
But if you have good barracks in April and Laser you will be better to exploit Lib1 (intel) & Lib 2 (Scientist) spawning .
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Rittstar
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by Rittstar » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:38 am

ya right, almost always jailbreak is 2nd or 3nd mission shows up, most likely with 1-2 rebel 1 faceless 1 rookie ;) and legend you need to pray to RNGesus more often to get scientist AND engineer missions fast

after 800h i still find new and usefull "intel" here and there

gimrah
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by gimrah » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:25 am

There isn't a huge difference between missions. Often the best ones are the hacks. Intel packages can be awesome (sci or engie) or terrible (stock + hair trigger). But you also get intel and a hack roll for an additional reward.

On that basis the best possible mission is prevent dark event to rescue scientist from cell/vehicle (i.e. there's a hack) with an intel package.

faket15
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by faket15 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:26 pm

gimrah wrote:On that basis the best possible mission is prevent dark event to rescue scientist from cell/vehicle (i.e. there's a hack) with an intel package.
This isn't possible actually. Missions to prevent Tactical Dark Events always give Intel + something (VIP if it's a rescue, PoI otherwise, Supplies if no PoI is available). Protect Data is the only activity that can give a Scientist/Engineer + PoI.

gimrah
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by gimrah » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:11 pm

faket15 wrote:
gimrah wrote:On that basis the best possible mission is prevent dark event to rescue scientist from cell/vehicle (i.e. there's a hack) with an intel package.
This isn't possible actually. Missions to prevent Tactical Dark Events always give Intel + something (VIP if it's a rescue, PoI otherwise, Supplies if no PoI is available). Protect Data is the only activity that can give a Scientist/Engineer + PoI.
I can tell you for a fact that it is possible. I've had it. Rescue scientist from cell, with intel package, to prevent viper rounds. Also had the same with an engie for a different dark event.

faket15
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by faket15 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:24 pm

gimrah wrote:
faket15 wrote:
gimrah wrote:On that basis the best possible mission is prevent dark event to rescue scientist from cell/vehicle (i.e. there's a hack) with an intel package.
This isn't possible actually. Missions to prevent Tactical Dark Events always give Intel + something (VIP if it's a rescue, PoI otherwise, Supplies if no PoI is available). Protect Data is the only activity that can give a Scientist/Engineer + PoI.
I can tell you for a fact that it is possible. I've had it. Rescue scientist from cell, with intel package, to prevent viper rounds. Also had the same with an engie for a different dark event.
Here is the code for Tactical Dark Event mission rewards:

Code: Select all

static function array<name> COINResearchRewards(XComGameState_LWAlienActivity ActivityState, name MissionFamily, XComGameState NewGameState)
{
    local array<name> Rewards;

    Rewards[0] = 'Reward_Intel';
    // End:0x47
    if(MissionFamily == 'Rescue_LW')
    {
        Rewards[1] = RescueReward(false, false);
    }
    // End:0x97
    else
    {
        // End:0x82
        if(CanAddPOI())
        {
            Rewards[1] = 'Reward_POI_LW';
            Rewards[2] = 'Reward_Dummy_POI';
        }
        // End:0x97
        else
        {
            Rewards[1] = 'Reward_Supplies';
        }
    }
    return Rewards;
    //return ReturnValue;    
}

gimrah
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Re: Rational decision making on Basic Research

Post by gimrah » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:43 pm

I can't comment on the code. I can only comment on my experience. My memory is fairly clear on this.

It is conceivable this was changed during the development of 1.5 without being highlighted in the change log.

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