LWOTC - Early Game Strategy (2024)

EDIT: This post has been edited to reflect some changes in version 1.1, and some of my new preferences.

It is a lot tougher to quickly build out the Avenger in Long War of the Chosen than it was in Long War 2. This is because of two new facilities: the Resistance Ring, and the Infirmary. You will need more supplies and power to build everything, and there is a cash crunch for most of the campaign, making it very difficult to get all the urgent facilities up and running.

In a prior campaign I started off by building the GTS and the Resistance Ring. This uses up most of the Avenger’s initial power supply, and it means that the Psionics Lab cannot be started until after a Power Relay is built. That’s not great. My first Psi Operatives arrived over a month later than I would expect them in LW2. Given how slow it was for me to acquire Psi Operatives I decided to use an alternate build order in my next run.

And so I did. Here is what that looks:

  1. GTS (-2 power) + 1 Upgrade (-1 power)

  2. Psi Lab (-3 power)

  3. Workshop (+1 power)

  4. Proving Ground (-2 power)

  5. Power Relay (+4/6/11 power) upgrade/staff as needed

    2A. Psi Lab Upgrade (-2 power)

  6. Resistance Ring (-3 power)

LWOTC - Early Game Strategy (1)

Psi Rush Build Order - Summary of Each Facility

GTS: I strongly believe that the GTS should be the first facility built. A lot has changed in LWOTC, but officers are still incredibly strong. Officers will eventually allow you to speed level your barracks up to SGT rank (using Trial by Fire) and that alone justifies building the GTS immediately. Also, the Command ability is very powerful, and training rookies into squaddies is also nice. So I always build the GTS first, upgrade it right away (but only one upgrade to save power!), and that will probably never change.

Psionics Lab: Building the Psi Lab second is my standard approach in LW2, and it is a strong opening strategy. It is also very expensive ($250 w/upgrade) and for that reason it can compete with other fiscal priorities such as purchasing an engineer/scientist at the Black Market, which is also a strong move.

Workshop: (new in version 1.1 the workshop acts as an additional engineer for weapons and technology requirements, thus much better) It is best to build the workshop in a spot that will be adjacent to the Resistance Ring, Proving Ground, and the Power Relay. If you build the Workshop early enough, it can also be used to speed the excavation of adjacent rooms giving you a small boost to income which almost pays for itself. The +1 power granted by the Workshop is enough to enable the construction of the Proving Ground before building a Power Relay. This will help you get your Spark sooner.

It is possible that I might build the Workshop before the Psionics Lab, either because I am slow in reaching Psionics Technology, or quick in excavating the Avenger. Nevertheless, the Psionics Lab is the higher priority.

Proving Ground: This enables you to buy a Spark - perhaps the most powerful early game unit. Just remember you need 3 engineers for the Spark project. The Alloy Plating project is also great early on.

Power Relay: And now I am out of power and must build a Power Relay. Sometimes I get lucky and find bonus Avenger Power at scanning sites. That’s always great, and it means the Power Relay can be delayed in favor of another facility or upgrade.

Psionics Lab Upgrade: Upgrading the Psionics Lab is crucial because the most powerful psi abilities have very long training times, and most psi training time is done in the early game. This creates a frustrating bottleneck to your psi program, which a second psi tube will remediate.

Resistance Ring: I feel like I owe an explanation for why I believe it is okay to delay this facility for so long. So here it is: While the Resistance Ring was once an incredibly powerful facility… it was nerfed. In standard WOTC, this was the 2nd facility that I would build, but in LWOTC the Faction Orders are deactivated (by default) and so the RR loses much of its value. As it stands now, it only allows you to run multiple faction missions per month (usually about 3 missions are possible) as opposed to only 1 mission without the Ring. The thing is, faction missions aren’t very valuable at the start of the campaign. In the first couple of months they reward only Supplies or Ability Points or a PCS - never a free engineer or scientist. The more lucrative missions are only available after you have increased your influence with a faction. To gain influence with a faction you need a soldier at SGT rank. To contact a new factions, which grants another hero class soldier, again you will need a soldier at SGT rank. Because it takes a couple months to level up a few SGTs, it is reasonable to delay construction of the Resistance Ring until then. That being said, free gear and experience are great, and the sooner you build the Resistance Ring the better.

At this point, I feel that I have completed the most important facilities - everything up to this point was extremely time sensitive and thus urgent. The sooner you get captain ranked officers, the sooner you can speed level your barracks; the sooner you get the Psionics Lab, the sooner you can level up your psi soldiers, and so on. All of the remaining facilities provide bonuses that are far less time sensitive.1

Competing Concerns

Tallying up the total cost for the urgent facilities and upgrades that I have listed above, we get a very large sum: $785.2 But there are other competing concerns that will also demand resources. Here is my list of those other high priority purchases:

  • engineer/scientist3 x 2 (~$260)

  • Wet Work ($75)

  • Alloy Plating Project ($10)

  • Nanoscale Vest x 8 ($40)

  • AP Rounds x 3 ($30)

  • Laser tier weapons x 9 (~$205)

  • Spark #1 ($50)

  • A soldier at the Black Market ($45)

  • Vulture ($150) - very important to get soon, as it helps you fund other purchases.

That adds up to about $865. So all together, my early game expenses are about $1650. That’s a lot - but even if I manage to acquire all those supplies it feels like a very tight budget. Ideally I would buy all the engineers and scientists available at the Black Market, and more soldiers too. I would like double the armor I have listed above, and more laser tier weapons. But I just can’t afford it. The game is very well balanced economically; and so the commander must become a most thrifty shopper.

To raise all these funds, you will need to sell a lot of valuable loot at the Black Market. It might be painful, but what you can get with those extra supplies is much better than the loot you are selling. This is the truth and it must be accepted. In the early game you will need to sell almost all of your elerium cores (need one for the Spark), datapads, and data caches, any mediocre PCS, and many weapon upgrades. Sell sell sell. Eventually you will get the Vulture upgrade (the sooner the better), and all that loot will be yours again.

You will also want to sell a lot of corpses - but be careful. Keep all your drone and purifiers, and a few of every other type of corpse as well.

It is a big help to know which corpses can be sold at the Black Market without stunting research. To avoid selling something you might really need later on, I suggest subscribing to the “Blackmarket Usage” mod, and then adjusting its config ini to show all potential uses for an item. The description of the mod tells you how to do this; or just examine the screenshot below.

LWOTC - Early Game Strategy (2)

Psi Rush Tech Path

  • Resistance Communications - Allows you to connect to nearby regions

  • Basic Research - equivalent to 1 scientist 4

  • Modular Weapons - Allows use of Weapon Upgrades

  • Alien Biotech - Psi Track, AP Rounds to deal with MECs

  • Sectoid Autopsy - Psi Track

  • Psionics - Psi Lab

  • Hybrid Materials - Nanoscale Vest

  • Advent Trooper Autopsy - Proving Ground, Alloy Plating Project

  • Laser Weapons

  • Adv. Laser Weapons

  • Advent Officer Autopsy - Skulljack, Talon Rounds

  • Advent Robotics (delay if you don’t have at least 4 drones)

  • Advent Purifier Autopsy (delay if you don’t have at least 2 corpses)

  • Stun Lancer Autopsy (delay if you don’t have at least 2 corpses)

This is pretty close to a straight psi rush, but I grab Modular Weapons first. This is a quick detour. Scopes are really nice to equip early on, and a Stock will make the Sharpshooter a much better soldier.

The bonus HP from nanoscale vests and alloy plating are no small concern, and will certainly save lives. If you want to be a bit more cautious you can move Hybrid Materials and Trooper Autopsy up a few notches.

I do not expect to have the corpses necessary to research Advent Robotics, or to acquire Arc Blades or Incendiary Grenades. However, if I do get lucky, and acquire those corpses, I will do research immediately after completing Advanced Laser Weapons.

Haven Management

When the game begins all your haven personnel will be assigned to intel, which is how it should be. The first thing to do is assign a Haven Advisor (I find a Ranger or Assault work best early). Do not scan at the Black Market. Scan your region till you find 2 missions, hopefully with plenty of time to infiltrate, then scan at the Black Market.

Throughout the game most of my resistance personnel will be on Intel collection. Missions are far more lucrative than supply gathering, and so it only makes sense to switch over to Supplies once the region has reached an advent strength level which prohibits most missions from succeeding, which is at about strength 5. Of course, mining Intel in strength 5+ regions is still worthwhile because you can find Troop Ambushes, and also extractions and hack missions which can be stealthed with 1 or 2 man squads. Intel gathering is always valuable, but at Strength 5, supply gathering becomes a solid alternative.

Whenever your Haven personnel switch jobs, they will be ineffective for 24 hours. For this reason, it is not a good idea for your personnel to switch jobs too often.

I don’t do much recruiting; jailbreaks usually provide my havens with an adequate supply of manpower. But sometimes I will put 1-4 guys on the recruit job because that haven is near empty or all my soldiers are off on missions or if I need some rookies.

It is important to expand to another region quickly. Your starting region will eventually draw the attention of advent and before it becomes dangerous to run standard missions there, you should already have expanded into an adjacent region.

I am reluctant to spend Intel on boosting mission infiltration. Intel is often hard to come by, and essential for expanding quickly. I recommend jealously stockpiling Intel - using it only for expansion and extremely lucrative or important missions.

Once advent strength in the starting region spikes upward, I usually keep mining intel in the hopes of finding a Troop Ambush. Once I find a Troop Ambush, I can switch everyone in that region over to supplies for a couple weeks, then back to intel again. Troop Ambushes have a 21 day cooldown period starting from the time they spawn. You won’t know the exact date they spawn, but you can make a pretty good guess, and then add 21 days to that date, which tells you when it is time to start searching for a Troop Ambush again. I often keep detailed notes of when and where I find Troop Ambushes in order to better sniff out the new ones.

Another rule is that there can only be two active Troop Ambushes globally at any given time. Sometimes this rule helps me game Intel/Supply gathering even further.

Not Created Equally OFF

I like to play with the “Not Created Equally” setting turned off. This setting can only be altered on the first turn of the Gatecrasher mission by opening the Edit Options window then selecting the Campaign tab, then unselecting Not Created Equally, as shown below.

LWOTC - Early Game Strategy (3)

Again, this must be done on the very first turn of the very first mission.

This simplifies the game a lot, giving each soldier the same HP, aim, mobility etc. Given how many mechanics there are in LWOTC, this is especially helpful to new players who need to focus on more important issues. Soldiers will still be offered a unique set of abilities from the training center which serves to differentiate them.

If you like having soldiers with differing aim, mobility, HP, etc. but want more control over your classes, then you may want to consider playing with the “[WOTC] Choose My Class” mod, which enables newly promoted squaddies to choose from three classes rather than being assigned to a class.

This post is followed by: LWOTC - Mid/Late Game Strategy.

1

The Laboratory is technically speaking, very time sensitive - providing more value the sooner you get it. But the Lab is not urgent because you can buy scientists which do the same thing as the lab, and for about the same cost.

2

This is assuming I buy one upgrade for the Power Relay, rather than committing an engineer to that facility.

3

I like to buy an engineer early on, but if I get one as a reward I might buy a scientist instead. In LWOTC I like to get 3 engineers quickly, and I will buy engineers over scientists if I have an equal number of each. Supplies are more of a bottleneck than research, and extra engineers will help bring in more cash from excavation.

4

I no longer think it’s a good idea to rush Basic Research. You can do it, and survive, but it makes the early game harder and that’s unnecessary. Instead Grab Basic Research later on, maybe when you are unable to research other techs because of missing resources.

LWOTC - Early Game Strategy (2024)
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