[XCom 2] Blogger Succession Game – Mission 10: Operation Dawn Fort

One of the dangers about having some experience with a game and playing on an easy difficult mode is that you can get cocky. Some times this can lead to some disastrous results. Fortunately that wasn’t the case this time but it came so close to it that it is not even funny. Well, not for me anyway! XD

If by some reason you are just stumbling on this post, it is part of a blogging succession game where each participant blog plays a bit of XCom 2 and then pass on the save to the next blogger. It is being hosted by Naithin of Time to Loot. You can find more about it and a link to all the participating blogs here.

Credits: The image at the top was created by Naithin.

Oh, a couple more administrative notes I should mention. First, we decided to change things a bit. Before we had to do one mission then do the base building/geoscape portion of the game until another mission popped-up. Then we would pass the save file to another person.

But since there are some important missions that have to actively be selected in the geoscape we decided to change it. Now we do the base building/geoscape first, do one mission and pass along the save file to another person. That mission can be one of those in the map that needs to be selected or one that pops up.

The other bit of information is that Mr. Peril is very busy with real life right now. Because of that he decided to bow out of this succession game. Whether he will come back eventually we don’t know yet.

In the mean time I am the next one in line after Naithin is done with his turn. I hope all the best for Mr. Peril and hopefully life will calm down soon for him.

Alright let’s get on with this post.

Oh, and SPOILER WARNING! There will be spoilers for XCom 2’s story ahead. Not that there is much to spoil, since the main meat of the game is still sending your squad to ruin the life of some aliens but I thought I should give a warning anyway. XD

If you are participating on the Succession Game you should read though just to get an idea of where we are, story-wise.

Previously in XCom 2

This is something I should have done in the previous post but completely forgot about it. Because of that this will be extra long this time around as I am trying to catch up since the beginning of the game and explain how we got to this point.

The story starts back at the first XCom game. In that one, Earth was being invaded by alien forces. The only line of defense against them was an UN-funded para-military organization called XCom. It also happened to be commanded by us.

XCom 2 goes from the premise that we lost the war in the first game. Not only that but the Commander, meaning us, was captured by the aliens.

It is now 20 years later, the aliens conquered the earth and have been pretending to be friendly to humans. They even named themselves Advent, a name carefully chosen to help with their deception of elevating humans to a new era of prosperity.

All is not lost though. The survivors of XCom banded together and have been fighting a guerrilla war against the aliens all this time. They even got a lucky break at the beginning of this game as they rescue the Commander from a pod where they had been maintained in a sort of stasis for the last two decades.

The game’s tutorial is even a mission to rescue the Commander.

The commander wearing some weird suit, trapped in a glass tube that has green liquid being drained out of it.
I have no idea what that green liquid did but considering how they reacted later in the cutscene it must have been really good to the Commander’s skin!

I have no idea why they would go to the trouble of rescuing a Commander that lost one war already hoping for a different outcome this time. I will admit there is at least one point where it helped them though but more about this later.

Back at the Avenger, XCom’s mobile base, they managed to not only to revive the Commander but extract a chip that was implanted in their brain.

On a random note, my headcanon for this succession game is that the Commander didn’t survive the chip extraction. However Bradford, our XO, couldn’t handle that and went crazy. He found a person that looked similar enough to the Commander, gave them a wig and the uniform and said that the Commander never died.

Of course the others didn’t believe that but they are afraid what Bradford might do if they confront him about it.

The stress however is too much for that poor fool that got dragged into being the “Commander”. So after every mission they need to rest from all the stress and so Bradford gives the wig and uniform to another person. And this is how there are several “Commanders” in this Blogger Succession Game! XD

Anyway, back to the real story of the game. We researched the chip but couldn’t figure much besides the obvious: it had some sinister purpose and it was important for the aliens.

Tygan holding some painful-looking extraction device while Shen looks at it.
Don’t worry this won’t hurt any. I mean, it won’t hurt Tygan that is. I don’t know about the Commander.

Later on, while doing an autopsy on a Advent Officer, we discovered what the purpose of the chip was. Turns out the Advent Officers have a similar chip implanted in their brains. This connects them to a sort of psychic network that allowed them to draw tactical information from the Commander’s subconscious mind and use it to give orders to their soldiers.

Honestly this seems like a poor plan for me. I mean, the Commander lost the war. Clearly they are not good at strategy.

Anyway, now that the Commander is completely disconnected from that network who knows where they are drawing those tactics from.

Still, Tygan, our head scientist, wants to use a device called the Skulljack to “hack” into this psionic network. There are only two problems. The first is we needed to build the “Proving Ground” facility to create and test experimental items. I actually ordered for them to start building it in my last turn.

It has been completed and the development of the Skulljack has started.

The second problem is that our soldiers in the field would have to use the Skulljack on an Advent Officer. That is not something any of us has done yet.

Another important plot point, was something the Council Spokesman told us about. He found out that the aliens are working on something sinister called “The Avatar Project”. He couldn’t find any details but he is pretty sure that if it gets completed humanity is irreversibly screwed.

He did find a clue about it though. A secret facility that he called the Advent Blacksite. If we break into it we might end up finding more about the alien’s evil plans.

That is about where we are in terms of story.

In terms of research, we discovered how to use the alien’s technology to build Radio Towers. This will be useful to get the continental bonuses once we contact all the Resistance groups in a region.

We also did some autopsies and research of our own and figured out how to develop Magnetic Rifles, Arc Blades and Mag Pistols. But of those we were only able to upgrade our rifles.

There might be a few other research I forgot about.

In terms of facilities we built the Guerrilla Tactics School, the Proving Grounds and a new Power Relay.

XCom 2 NPCs

SInce I am doing a catch-up of stuff I should have written in my previous turn let me write about the NPCs that are supporting us through the game.

Central Officer Bradford – Bradford has been with us since the first XCom game. Back then he was a young, clean-shaven officer full of optimism and hope.

After the defeat of XCom he took the survivors of the organization then proceeded to lead them for the next 20 years. Now he is a hardened veteran who for some reason believes a commander who lost the war once will do better the second time. Even though the odds are even worse against them.

His role is to appear in cutscenes either for dramatic reasons or for exposition. He is also the one that gives our mission briefs, nags us to complete objectives and state the obvious.

Dr. Richard Tygan – Formerly a scientist for Advent, once he realized the aliens were evil he defected them to join XCom. Now he works as our head scientist.

Besides conducting research, doing autopsies on aliens and writing all of it in reports, he also appears in cutscenes for exposition.

Chief Lily Shen – Daughter of XCom’s previous Chief of Engineering, Dr. Raymond Shen, she is the one who leads XCom’s engineering team.

She is also responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Avenger. Occasionally appears in cutscenes for dramatic purposes and exposition.

The Spokesman – A mysterious bald guy who communicates with us through video calls while keeping his face hidden in the shadows. Back in the first game he represented the UN Council that funded XCom.

After the invasion he pretended to join the aliens and has been using this position to feed whatever information he can find about their evil plans to XCom.

Besides being mysterious and give us some missions he is also responsible for rating our performance at the end of the each month.

The Avenger – Not really a NPC but our mobile base. It is actually a downed alien UFO that has been modified and fixed up enough to get off the ground by Dr. Raymond Shen before he passed away.

Whew. I think that is all the basic info about XCom 2.

Building/Research/Geoscape Phase

First thing I do is change my namesake’s nickname from “Three” to “Rakuno”. “Three” was a silly joke I thought about when Naithin was creating the characters but since only the nicknames are shown during the missions, “Rakuno” should make it easier to see who is who.

After that I checked how the Avenger was shaping up. There was some alien machinery being cleared, Gauss Weapons were being researched, the Skulljack was being built in the Proving Grounds and some of our soldiers were wounded.

With nothing to do at the base for now I went to the Geoscape and decided to spend some days getting an engineer for us. Once we get the new engineer I put him to work on helping clear the alien machinery.

Meanwhile Tessa, Naithin and Sofia (a random soldier) recovered from their wounds. The Avatar Project also got another pip on their progress meter.

The Skulljack project was completed and I decided to order them to do to research on Experimental Grenades. This will give us a a special grenade randomly chosen from a list.

The Gauss Weapons research also completed. This will allow us to upgrade our sniper rifles to a Gauss Rifle and the Cannon into a Mag Cannon…. whenever we get the resources for that.

Then I ordered Tygan to do research on Plated Armor. We’ll be needing some better armor for our soldiers soon enough so might as well start researching it now.

Choosing the Plated Armor to be researched next
That preview makes the Plated Armor look more impressive than it actually is.

Then I decided to finish making contact with the resistance group at the western side of USA. A couple days later that is finished and we also get a supply drop.

With the new infusion of supplies I decided to upgrade the Assault Rifle into Magnetic Rifles and the Cannons into Mag Cannons.

I was honestly in doubt if I should have upgraded those or the sniper rifles but decided for the Cannons since we are starting to see robot enemies. Grenadiers can be pretty good at dealing with those so it made more sense to me to upgrade their weapons first.

The Alien Machinery was cleared and I ordered one of our engineer to build a Resistance Comms there as our comms are full now.

Below it there was an Exposed Power coil that I ordered another engineer to clear. This might be a good place to build another power supply in the future as the exposed coil will allow it to provide more power than normal. But that is a decision to whoever gets it finished.

After all that we are completely broke again. XD

With all that done I decided to pay a visit to that Blacksite location that the Spokesman talked about a while ago.

Operation Dawn Fort

This is where my hubris began. This is a mission that we have to choose to do so as it advances the game’s storyline.

Depending on when you do it and how developed your squad/equipment is, this mission can be a pain. So I decided to do it now before it got to that point. And I even equipped Easha with the Skulljack, thinking I’d use it on an Advent Commander while at it, killing two main quests in one go!

Of course it didn’t go that easily…

The people I chose for this mission was myself, Easha, Tessa, Sofia Vasillyeva and Naithin.

The mission was pretty simple: go into the facility, kill any aliens in there and then recover any information or item they might be hiding in there.

I started carefully enough, making the squad slowly go into a building, ending every turn behind cover and with overwatch.

Once they got out of the building there were some train cars loaded with some kind of containers made of metal and glass filled with green liquid and the outline of people inside.

Bradford was horrified, realizing that the abductions never ended. The aliens have been doing it all this time, they just changed tactics. Shen also noted they had some kind of self-contained power, possibly to keep the people inside in stasis. For all she knew the people inside might still even be alive.

Central Commander Bradford commenting how the aliens probably never stopped abducting people after the war.
But Central they couldn’t stop back then! They were so close to completing their collection of humans. Well, they are still trying to complete the collection 20 years later but I am sure they will get the last one eventually!

This is also when I found an alien patrol northwest of our squad. It consisted of two Sectoids and one Muton.

Random note: Mutons are one of the enemies I hate the most this early in the game. They can throw grenades and if they do it when you have two or more soldiers close to each other, you can imagine the damage they do.

As I was planning on how to deal with that patrol I decided to move Tessa to the top of the building we just came from. My goal was to spread up the squad and to let Tessa take advantage of the high ground.

To my horror and surprise there was a turret up there! And Tessa had already spent all her moves! The turret spotted her, bringing out our entire squad, minus Easha, out of hiding and making that patrol move into combat.

Which made it even worse is this could have been completely avoided. I heard the turret sounds while I was going through the building. Yet for some stupid reason I thought it was in another building, north of them.

But that was okay. It wasn’t an ideal situation but I could deal with this I thought. I started going through my options, trying to figure out who could deal with the turret and who could deal with the aliens.

First I got Naithin to slash down one of the Sectoids. Those aliens are weak to melee attacks and I was able to do it in a way that left Naithin behind cover. It worked perfectly! One alien down, two to go.

Then I moved Rakuno to a spot where I thought he would have a better chance at shooting at the aliens. To my horror he got spotted by another alien patrol I didn’t even see that was on the southeast of the map.

This meant that some of soldiers would be exposed to their fire. Oh, and to make it even “better” it was an Advent Commander and Mec too!

But no problem, I thought. If the worst comes to happen I can use my one reload per mission I am allowed in this Succession Game.

I made Rakuno shoot the Mec because I hate those things too. Fortunately he killed it in one shot, granting him a promotion.

Next I moved Sofia to another spot and made her shoot the Muton. It made quite a bit of damage but not enough to kill it.

Lastly, I made Easha use her skill “Run and Gun” to dash up the roof and kill the turret. Thank the gods for whoever gave her that skill because it might have saved Tessa.

Easha about to take a shot at turret with 100% chance to hit.
Also thank the gods for 100% chance at this shot. If it missed I’d probably die of all the horror!

Now it was the aliens turn. Despite leaving Easha in cover, the stupid commander marked her and still managed to get a shot, doing 3 damage.

Then the Muton ran over next to Naithin to smack him in the face, leaving him with only one HP left and also dazed.

The Sectoid moved too, used its mental powers on Rakuno making him panic. Joke was on the Sectoid though because it only made Rakuno ran to another spot and shoot the Muton, killing it.

When our squad’s turn came again, Easha killed the Advent Commander. Tessa shot the Sectoid but it wasn’t enough to kill it. Sofia however managed to finish it.

That was one combat over.

Rakuno recovered from his panic attack, Naithin recovered from being dazed and Sofia healed him up. The squad then proceeded to go to the next building in this facility.

Inside it they found out dozens, maybe hundreds of those people in containers being dunked into some weird liquid. Tygan theorized they might be processed for some kind of experiment, maybe the creation a new weapon. But Shen thought it looked more like some kind of refinery.

At the end of building there was a vial with some other weird liquid in it. Bradford changed our orders to retrieve that vial and bring it back to the Avenger.

Dozens of tubes containing green liquid and the outline of humans inside.

Tygan then theorizes they may be test subjects for some kind of new weapon.
No, Tygan, I am pretty sure they are testing some new kind of bath therapy here.

I knew I wasn’t going to get to that vial without a fight. I mean, the aliens may be dumb but not dumb enough to leave an important item like that completely unguarded. The question was where was the location of their guards.

I tried to move the squad carefully to put them in good spots for a fight, while I tried to find the enemy’s location. But their patrol found our squad first. Unfortunately our squad’s overwatch wasn’t enough to take them down.

This time it was an Advent Trooper and a Mec.

Tessa tried to take a shot at the Advent Trooper but missed. I moved Rakuno for a position where he could take a better shot and guess what? Yes, it triggered another group of aliens on the northwest corner, that I didn’t see before! Obviously they moved to attack our squad.

That group consisted of two Sectoids and a Viper. That was okay, I thought. I can manage this, I thought.

Well, this was almost turned into one of those last famous words scenario. Rakuno missed his shot at the Advent Mec but fortunately Easha had a much better luck with her shot, killing the robot.

I moved Naithin a bit to try to kill the Advent Trooper but he missed his shot. Sofia however managed to do it.

It was the aliens turn and if to prove that my luck wasn’t rotten enough already another alien patrol, consisting of two sectoids, came from the south side, outside the building. This meant that our squad had no easy place to take cover that wouldn’t leave them completely open to shots from one of the alien groups.

A couple of Sectoids about to find out the squad.
Seriously, I have no idea how I didn’t meet them earlier. That squad was in that exact same spot a few minutes before!

At this point I wasn’t even thinking of doing my allowed reload. I was honestly considering just redoing the entire turn and pretend none of this ever happened. Still I decided to keep going, maybe I would get luck and lose only one soldier. That might have at least be entertaining to read.

The Viper tried to grab Rakuno but failed. Sectoid 1 tried to use a Mindspin power on Tessa but she resisted it. Sectoid 2 raised the Advent Trooper as a Psi Zombie.

It was our squad’s turn again. I moved Naithin to a different spot hoping he could take a better shot to one of the aliens but he missed. It was a probably bad idea overall as his previous spot was probably pretty safe from both sides. The one I left him left him open to shots from the north side.

Sofia shot at the Psi Zombie, re-killing it. Usually I just find it more efficient to kill the Sectoid that is raising them but for some reason I decided to shoot the zombie itself this time.

Easha managed to kill Sectoid 1. Tessa shot at Sectoid 3, damaging but not killing it. Rakuno shot a grenade at the Viper, damaging it and destroying the wall that gave it cover. In retrospect I should have tried to move him to a different spot to get a better chance at killing one of the aliens.

It was the enemy’s turn again. Sectoid 3 moved a little closer then used it’s power to cause panic on Tessa. She responded by shooting it with her gun but she missed then she ran to take cover somewhere else.

Sectoid 4 tried to take a shot at Sofia and missed. The Viper tried to grab Rakuno again but also missed. It then shot at Easha, leaving her with 2 HP. Sectoid 2 moved closer then shot Naithin, leaving him once again with 1 HP.

XCom’s turn. Rakuno killed the Viper. Easha ran over and killed Sectoid 3 with a sword slash. That also ended Tessa’s panic attack.

Naithin tried to also run over and cut down Sectoid 4 but he missed. With 88% chance to hit. Oh, and he not only was by the alien’s side, he was completely exposed too!

Sofia healed Naithin which in retrospect probably wouldn’t have done much if Sectoid 4 decided to shoot him. Fortunately that was one of the dumber aliens. Instead of taking a 100% shot at Naithin it decided to run over to a different position, took a shot and missed completely!

Sectoid 2 used its psychic powers to put Rakuno in a panic which only made him move to a different cover.

Easha went to cut down Sectoid 4 but much to my surprise that didn’t kill it. The alien still had one HP left but Naithin managed to kill it with a shot of his gun. Finally Tessa managed to kill Sectoid 2.

By that point I was pretty sure I killed all the aliens in this facility. Still I decided to proceed carefully towards the vial just in case my bad luck persisted.

Tessa about to collect the vial with the weird glowing green liquid in it.

Central says in sarcastic tone that he guess it isn't water in there and asks Shen for any readings.
I don’t know Central maybe you should drink it just to make sure it is not water!

As I got close to the goal, I could hear the sound of a turret. Having learned my lesson I decided to send Sofia outside to take a peek. She saw the turret and shot it down.

Then I put Tessa next to vial, ready to grab it while everybody else were being positioned outside, ready to dash to the extraction point.

Once everybody was in place, Tessa grabbed the vial then rushed outside to join the rest of the squad.

They still had to fight a couple more Advent reinforcements before they managed to get to the extraction point but fortunately nobody got hurt or killed during those fights.

By this point I had pretty much given up on using the Skulljack this mission. I had risked more than enough with my dumb decisions earlier. If any newbie wants to try using it, my tip is this: try to damage the Advent Commander a bit first before using it on them. That should almost guarantee that it succeeds. Also be prepared for a surprise.

After Action Report

Sofia got promoted to Sergeant and I chose the Revival Protocol skill for her. That should allow her to cure any negative mental status and recover people from being unconscious.

Rakuno got promoted to Lieutenant. For him I chose Holo Targeting. Any direct shot he does with the cannon, hit or miss, will mark the target giving an aim bonus to everyone else.

Lastly, Naithin got promoted to Corporal. I was a bit unsure if I should choose Blademaster or Phantom for him. From Naithin’s posts I had the impression he would like the Blademaster more but I decided to go for Phantom as it is an ability that can be really useful in some situations.

Phantom basically makes it so the Ranger remains concealed even if the rest of the squad is revealed to the enemy. Of course if the Ranger is the first to be revealed then the entire squad is still revealed together…

Whew. That was it for this turn. Hopefully my next one will be back at a more reasonable post size. This one turned extra long because of all the story recap I wanted to do and because this mission, being a story one, was longer than the usual missions we get.

Next up in this Succession Game will be Magi of Indiecator. You can find the save file here.

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