Wow, thanks for all the wonderful replies. Sorry my initial post was so long.
It appears I'm stressing too much over perfecting my game. I just didn't want to be accidentally sabotaging my chances for success given the amount of bugs plus the choices available to us.
On a side note, I had a psi-sectoid terror mission in the middle of month #2...and with some ample reloading I was able to come out unscathed. Thank you smoke grenades! I finally found out that there seems to be an issue where it won't let you use more than a certain amount of smoke on the map (yes I used that many nades haha).
First of all, hello, and thanks for such a wonderful X-com site! I love this game, but have some questions of which the lack of concrete answers cause me much mental stress being one of those min/max type of strategy gamers. I did some scanning of older posts but still never found any hard answers...so hoping someone can help me:
1) I know you can transfer scientists & engineers the last few hours of the month to save on salaries...but can you
do the same with interceptors & skyrangers?
2) Given the short distances of the manufactured crafts, do any of you keep interceptors & skyrangers until you get Avengers? Or is the monthly rental too much (as long as you can't do #1 above)?
3) If you leave an area free of bases...does the game deter aliens from going there? I have the nagging suspicion that once you place a base in an area, the game starts more alien activity there. It doesn't make sense that you place 1 base in say America, but you then can't defend other areas since the aliens are hidden to you. Should we take our time in placing bases until you can stock one to defend an area, or does having early placements with little use but radar really help? Do the aliens attack other areas of the globe after a certain period of time? Because if not, then how do they expect you to defend the globe in the first few months?
4) Related to #3, how fast do you guys try to set new bases up?
5) I have heard that researching certain techs (like plasma) opens up the floor for harder aliens to show up. Is there any truth to this, and if so, are there certain techs to research last to avoid early difficulty?
6) I usually buy & sack soldiers until I get 12 decent 40+ bravery troops in the beginning of the game (I don't usually lose soldiers because I reload alot admittedly)...because I feel the faster I get 12 troops experienced, the better the game will be. I can then send 4 vet troops in the midgame to another area to help out once
I finally decide to get a tank. Is this a bad strat? I feel like using tanks early make 4 soldiers lose out on potential experience.
7) Can someone give me a decent timeline on how many scientists and enginers you
should have in the opening months? I find the salaries to be a bit over the top, but the game designers couldn't intend for us to use the salary tranfer trick...how did they esxpect us to research in any decent amount of time with the costs of scientists?
8) How many large radars do you use in your early bases? I try to get a sectoid navigator by the end of the first month to research for hyperwave decoder early. But I have read that people get better results with a large radar working in tandem with the HD (better distance?).
Ok, well, sorry to throw so many questions at you guys, but not knowing these things causes me a little min/max stress hehe.