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I do understand that I need to

  • Go for missions with the higher current panic level.
  • Go for the rewards that I'm missing (like engineers or scientists)

In the early part of the game (first few missions), what specific rewards should I aim for? And in high level missions that have the same panic level where I'm not looking for a specific reward, should I just randomly pick a mission?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Priorities tend to be (but of course every situation is unique):

  1. The thing you need most. This might be Engineers, or Money. It's less likely to be Scientists or a Soldier. Murphy's Law suggests that whatever you need most won't be one of the three options.
  2. Stop Panic. If a place is nearly in full panic, this might trump priority 1, unless you have a satellite you can put up over that place. Of course most of the time you'll have two places that are about to go in full on panic mode, and no satellites.
  3. Continent Bonus. Worst case scenario, go for the country whose continent bonus you haven't lost (or can least afford to lose). If Canada has already dropped out, you'll never get the N. America continent bonus. If you've got to choose between USA and Japan, keep the people calm where you might be able to get the continent bonus.
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3  
+1 "Murphy's Law suggests that whatever you need most won't be one of the three options." Just flawless =D –  Michel Dec 17 '12 at 19:09
1  
just adding a bold in your answer (sorry for the small change) –  Michel Dec 17 '12 at 19:10
    
Totes a good call @MichelAyres –  aslum Dec 18 '12 at 1:24

Aslum's answer summarizes well. I'll just expand on the panic-level one:

Assuming that your mission is a success, then the panic level in the country that you visit goes down. However, the panic level on the entire continent of each country that you don't visit goes up (by two notches in the country in question, and one on the rest of the continent). This means that your choice can cause panic in a country that is not one of the ones that you are choosing between.

My normal approach is as follows:

  1. Check the Situation Room, and look at the whole continents. Usually I will choose the mission that will prevent any country from going into panic. Early on in the game, specific rewards may be more important. Or sometimes letting one country go into panic could be better than letting four countries get to 4/5 on their bars - but you get the idea.

  2. If one country is going to panic anyway, evaluate which one to save on the basis of (a) Do they have a satellite already? If so, they may be a priority because I have no other way of lowering their panic. (b) Would the loss of that country result in the loss of a continent bonus? If you have lost one country in a continent then the rest become less valuable; also, countries in your "home" continent are less valuable as they are not needed for the bonus. (Also, is it a continent bonus that you care about?) (c) How much cash do I get out of that country? Losing a $60/month country is less of a blow than losing the USA or Russia.

  3. If I'm not already decided by this point, then I'll look at the rewards. Usually cash is the best option, but early in the game it can be engineers, and if the squad is weak in the right area it can be squad members. However, note that engineers come in groups of 4 as rewards, and typically at the very start you need 5 to build an uplink. Alternatively, if all else is equal and your squad is struggling, it might be better to take an easier mission in the wrong place than to fail a Very Difficult in a better location.

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