Green glowing pods

green pods xcom

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#1 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:29 AM

So having started roughly a fortnight ago, I've now finished the new XCOM. Decent fun, will play again (and again and again and again, because OCD drives me towards that "A Continental Fellow" achievement...).

Anyway, that frees me up to discuss the game without fear of having anything spoiled for me. First point on the agenda - those green pods. What are they?

They're made of metal, but have green glowing points all over. You see them right at the very start during the intro, falling down into the city and seemingly EATING a citizen. During battles, unfortunate victims wrapped in green gunge are seen sprawled around them. And so it was that I spent my first few missions giving them a wide berth on the basis that they were clearly very dangerous and powerful... whatever they were.

Back at base, the scientific team seemingly gave them a look, said "meh" and went back to looking at the exploded gun shrapnel. Hello...?  Posted Image

Soon it became clear that the game wanted me to ignore them (other then as a fairly reliable source of random cover), though I hung on to a suspicion that later on the aliens would spring a trap with them or... something... and provide some acknowledgement that they were there.

So to me, they beg for an explanation. On the surface, they appear to be nothing more then automated people-snatching devices, but why they show up everywhere (be it a populated area or a sparse woodland) and entirely ignore your troopers (who also seemingly neglect to tell any of the research staff back at base about them) remains a mystery to me.
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#2 Pete

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:52 AM

It is odd isn't it? I had assumed that they would play some role but they don't :(

Thin Men seem to randomly be animated when you first spot them so that they're poking some of the green gunky bodies with what looks like a ceremonial dagger (could just as easily be a letter opener! :D).

No idea. There are a few questions left unanswered, so hopefully a sequel will touch on that, but this one is the most glaring omission as they do indeed appear throughout the game yet seem to serve no purpose, as you say.
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#3 Space Voyager

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:52 PM

I also have questions on that... appearing and disappearing Outsider... I mean come one, a being of pure energy and all... Why isn't it stronger and why does it stop coming? How is it made, and why haven't the aliens expanded on that tech... More and more Qs.

#4 Hobbes

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:03 PM

View PostBomb Bloke, on 23 December 2012 - 11:29 AM, said:

So having started roughly a fortnight ago, I've now finished the new XCOM. Decent fun, will play again (and again and again and again, because OCD drives me towards that "A Continental Fellow" achievement...).

Anyway, that frees me up to discuss the game without fear of having anything spoiled for me. First point on the agenda - those green pods. What are they?

They're made of metal, but have green glowing points all over. You see them right at the very start during the intro, falling down into the city and seemingly EATING a citizen. During battles, unfortunate victims wrapped in green gunge are seen sprawled around them. And so it was that I spent my first few missions giving them a wide berth on the basis that they were clearly very dangerous and powerful... whatever they were.

Back at base, the scientific team seemingly gave them a look, said "meh" and went back to looking at the exploded gun shrapnel. Hello...?  Posted Image

Soon it became clear that the game wanted me to ignore them (other then as a fairly reliable source of random cover), though I hung on to a suspicion that later on the aliens would spring a trap with them or... something... and provide some acknowledgement that they were there.

So to me, they beg for an explanation. On the surface, they appear to be nothing more then automated people-snatching devices, but why they show up everywhere (be it a populated area or a sparse woodland) and entirely ignore your troopers (who also seemingly neglect to tell any of the research staff back at base about them) remains a mystery to me.

To me they serve two proposes: to immobilize and prepare human abductees for experimentation/transport and as some sort of transport/callback beacon to inform the UFO that they are ready to pick up.

You never see the pods in UFO missions because presumably they are fired from orbit by the UFOs from the animation intro. But that is also something also quite interesting since firing an object of that size at that speed from the orbit to the ground should do a lot more damage when it hit Earth. But then again you see some pods broken on some maps, which makes it even more bizarre since they should either be completely pulverized from the energy released from the collision or the crash shouldn't make a dent on them.

You never see the pods being active around XCOM soldiers because the aliens have must have set them off. If they were still operating while aliens are doing experimentations that could be hazardous for the aliens.

That's my 2c ;)
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#5 Sunflash

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:26 PM

I think Hobbes hit the nail on the head. They appear to be some sort of thing you fire from a ship that then attempts to ensare any nearby victims(or just nearby humans) in the green goo stuff. At that point(and ideally the point XCOM shows up) the Aliens arrive to pick up their now neatly packaged experiment-subjects and haul them off.

#6 Pete

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:43 PM

That sounds fair - sort of cocooned in the green gunk :)

The Outsider is an odd one though. Good point SV. Why would they have an alien whose sole purpose is to open the door to the alien base? It doesn't make sense. Even weirder than that is the fact that he seems to fire a plasma rifle faster and more accurately than other aliens.
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#7 Hobbes

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:56 PM

View PostPete, on 23 December 2012 - 04:43 PM, said:

That sounds fair - sort of cocooned in the green gunk Posted Image

The Outsider is an odd one though. Good point SV. Why would they have an alien whose sole purpose is to open the door to the alien base? It doesn't make sense. Even weirder than that is the fact that he seems to fire a plasma rifle faster and more accurately than other aliens.

Not unless the aliens want you to find the access to the alien base, with the Outsider's increased Aim being just another test. Check this post for more details.
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#8 NKF

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:09 PM

I immediately thought of the orbital drop pods from Halo, combined with a civilian immobilization goo thingy.

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#9 Hobbes

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:25 PM

View PostNKF, on 23 December 2012 - 09:09 PM, said:

I immediately thought of the orbital drop pods from Halo, combined with a civilian immobilization goo thingy.

-NKF

First time I saw the intro movie it reminded me immediately of the biological sea tanks used to capture people on John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes.They also threw a spiderish material everywhere that would stick to any humans it can in contact with and afterwards the strands would contract to pull the captured humans.
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#10 Kret

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:17 PM

View PostPete, on 23 December 2012 - 04:43 PM, said:

That sounds fair - sort of cocooned in the green gunk Posted Image

The Outsider is an odd one though. Good point SV. Why would they have an alien whose sole purpose is to open the door to the alien base? It doesn't make sense. Even weirder than that is the fact that he seems to fire a plasma rifle faster and more accurately than other aliens.

Well, the shard they leave behind is identified as an antenna. So I believe that the Outsider is not really a living creature, but just a remote controlled one with no will of it's own.
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#11 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

I'd go with Hobbes' view on the Outsider's "one and only purpose" issue - it's the only one that makes even a bit of sense as to why they suddenly go from showing up in every UFO, to none at all.

Regarding the pods, I've a memory I've seen them in UFO sites - landed supply barges, specifically. Which I suppose'd reinforce the idea that they're solely capturing devices. Still weird that the game ignores them though.

Another thing that doesn't get satisfactorily explained, why does no one care when the temple ship lands? Something like that hovers over the planet, and yet it's still quite possible to keep panic levels at minimum levels. Months go by and the council doesn't comment if you ignore it.

And indeed, you've got no choice BUT to ignore it until you've dealt with the Gallop chamber first. It'd make a lot more sense if the ship didn't appear until you'd done that, and then you're forced to go handle it on the spot.

I also don't get why your volunteer is allowed to go out into combat immediately after playing around in the Gallop chamber, seemingly without even being asked what went on in there. You'd think they'd put that unit under observation for a week or something.
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#12 Pete

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

Well one thing the game isn't is a fact-based drama ;)

But yes, parts of the story could use a bit more love. I don't see much to imply they'll fill in blanks in a sequel, but I hope they do.
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