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    FAQ by Sycraft

    Version: 7 | Updated: 06/12/13 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                  Sycraft's X-Com Enemy Unknown (2012) Strategy Guide
                                      Revision 7
    Table of Contents
    [1.0.0] Introduction
     [1.1.0] Yes There is Another X-Com
     [1.2.0] Quick Tips
      [1.2.1] Geoscape Tips
      [1.2.2] Battle Tips
    [2.0.0] Starting Out
     [2.1.0] Difficulty Levels
     [2.2.0] Choosing Your Location
     [2.3.0] The First Mission
    [3.0.0] Building Your Base
     [3.1.0] Excavation
     [3.2.0] Permanent Facilities
     [3.3.0] Additional Facilities
    [4.0.0] Soldiers
     [4.1.0] Soldier Stats
     [4.2.0] What Class Will My Soldier Be?
     [4.3.0] How Does Experience Work?
     [4.4.0] The Classes
      [4.4.1] Assault
      [4.4.2] Heavy
      [4.4.3] Sniper
      [4.4.4] Support
     [4.5.0] The Abilities
      [4.5.1] Assault Abilities
      [4.5.2] Heavy Abilities
      [4.5.3] Sniper Abilities
      [4.5.4] Support Abilities
      [4.5.5] Psionic Abilities
    [5.0.0] Equipment
     [5.1.0] Armor
     [5.2.0] Weapons
      [5.2.1] Pistols
      [5.2.2] Assault Rifles
      [5.2.3] Scatter Guns
      [5.2.4] Sniper Rifles
      [5.2.5] Heavy Weapons
     [5.3.0] Items
    [6.0.0] Missions
     [6.1.0] Abduction Mission
     [6.2.0] Crashed UFO
      [6.2.1] Landed UFO
     [6.3.0] Terror Attack
     [6.4.0] Base Assault
     [6.5.0] Council Missions
      [6.5.1] Bomb Disposal
      [6.5.2] VIP Protection
      [6.5.3] Asset Recovery
    [7.0.0] Aliens
     [7.1.0] Sectoid
     [7.2.0] Thin Man
     [7.3.0] Outsider
     [7.4.0] Floater
     [7.5.0] Heavy Floater
     [7.6.0] Muton
     [7.7.0] Muton Berserker
     [7.8.0] Muton Elite
     [7.9.0] Chryssalid
     [7.10.0] Zombie
     [7.11.0] Drone
     [7.12.0] Cyberdisc
     [7.13.0] Sectopod
     [7.14.0] Sectoid Commander
     [7.15.0] Ethereal
     [7.16.0] Uber Ethereal
    [8.0.0] Battle Tactics
     [8.1.0] Understanding Cover
     [8.2.0] There's More to Defense Than Cover
     [8.3.0] Range Matters
     [8.4.0] Line of Sight Matters More
     [8.5.0] Overwatch and Reaction Shots
     [8.6.0] Scouting and Free Enemy Moves
     [8.7.0] Choosing Your Shots
     [8.8.0] Suppression
     [8.9.0] Medkits
     [8.10.0] Stealth
     [8.11.0] Psionics
    [9.0.0] Interception
     [9.1.0] The Basics
     [9.2.0] Types of Interceptors
     [9.3.0] Consumables
    [10.0.0] Basic Walkthrough
     [10.1.0] Starting Out
     [10.2.0] Your First Abduction
     [10.3.0] Research and Priorities
     [10.4.0] Get some Satellites
     [10.5.0] Fetching an Alien
     [10.6.0] Getting an Outsider Shard
     [10.7.0] All Their Base Are Belong to You
     [10.8.0] Hyperwave Research
     [10.9.0] A New UFO, and it is... Purple?
     [10.10.0] Well That Didn't Help!
     [10.11.0] You Call it a What Chamber?
     [10.12.0] An End, Once and For All
    [11.0.0] Mods
     [11.1.0] Basic Modding
    [12.0.0] DLC
    [13.0.0] Cheats
    [1.0.0] Introduction [1.0.0]
    This guide is intended to be a strategy and mechanics information for Firaxis'
    game X-Com. I'd call it a walkthrough, but you really can't have such a thing
    per se when you are talking about a more open, random game. So this guide will
    cover how the mechanics in the game work, in much greater detail than the tiny
    manual or tutorial, some useful strategies, a basic overview of progression and
    so on.
    REGARDING SPOLIERS: This guide is not spoiler free. While it doesn't
    particularly spoil much since the plot of the game is more or less "Kill all
    aliens, do so now," there is still information that will give away what goes
    on. If you aren't ok with that, please don't read any further. Unfortunately,
    there's no real good way not to have some spoilers so it is what it is.
    Also this guide is not intended as a replacement to the tutorial, so I won't be
    going over all the basics like movement. Play the tutorial to find out how to
    play the game, read the guide for more detailed information.
    [1.1.0] Yes There is Another X-Com [1.1.0]
    For those that aren't aware, this game is a sequel, or more accurately a
    reboot, of an old series. Back in 1994 Microprose released a game called UFO:
    Enemy Unknown, or X-Com: UFO Defense. It was a turn based tactical game, with a
    strategic geomap, like this one, and was a real classic greatly loved by many
    strategy fans. In 1995 a sequel called X-Com: Terror from the Deep came out
    where again you were getting invaded by aliens, but from the ocean this time
    (so you know what you may see next here). It was exceedingly hard. For those
    that don't think "classic" difficulty could be accurate, try it and see.
    After that there was Apocalypse which tried to mix in real time strategy and
    didn't work so well, and then they quickly ran the franchise in to the ground
    with a bad space shooter, a horrible budget e-mail game, and finally a bad
    third person shooter.
    In 2005 Take2 (2k's parent) bought the rights to X-Com, and now in 2012, here
    is the result.
    While this game is substantially different in execution from the originals, it
    is the same basic idea, same basic setting and so on. If you've a soft spot in
    your heart for old DOS games, you can find copies released legally for free, or
    on Impulse, Steam, and so on which will run in DOSBox. Just be warned: They
    aren't kidding on the classic difficulty, it was hard.
    As of this writing you can find them on http://www.xcomufo.com/ legally to
    download. DOSBox (also free) is required. The Steam version is packaged with
    DOSBox already.
    [1.2.0] Quick Tips [1.2.0]
    Tip: Read the tips :).
    [1.2.1] Geoscape Tips [1.2.1]
    --Get satellites up as soon as possible. They help reduce panic in a number of
    ways and panic will be a big problem particularly early on.
    --Worry about workshops more than laboratories. One lab is probably fine.
    Construction cost and research materials tend to be the problem, not research
    --Don't just have one squad of soldiers. Your soldiers WILL get injured, you'll
    need backups. Rotate in some new people in with the veterans to rank them up
    for later.
    --Never ignore a UFO unless there is just no way you can do the mission. It
    increases panic, pisses off the council, and deprives you of much needed
    --Try and build your base so there's area to build things next to each other
    for adjacency bonuses. Ideally, you want a square of 4 buildings so you get one
    bonus per building.
    --Don't overspend on items. Just build what you need at the time. Items for
    your squad construct immediately, so you can build them right before a mission,
    just go back to the briefing, out to engineering, build your stuff, and then do
    the mission. Save money and resources.
    --Try to capture aliens as instructed fairly quickly to get the mission to raid
    an alien base. It reduces panic globally by two and you will probably have
    trouble managing panic until you are more satellites up so you likely need to
    do it sooner rather than later.
    --Don't build the Hyperwave Decoder until you have new interceptors, or at
    least the materials to research them. It will make a new, fast, UFO appear and
    your old ones won't be able to shoot it down, meaning more panic/angry council.
    --Remember PSI training takes your soldiers out of commission. Make sure you
    don't put all your best guys in there at once.
    [1.2.2] Battle Tips [1.2.2]
    --Put your soldiers on overwatch when they don't have something else to do.
    --No, seriously, put your damn soldiers on overwatch, it is often the
    difference between life and death.
    --Generally limit moves to one action point (not dashing) in most cases. You
    want to be ready to fire, hunker, retreat, etc if the move takes you in to
    --Always, always stay in cover. Standing in the open is just asking to get
    --Be aware of the directions of cover. Enemies can, and will, flank you if
    given the chance. Each direction of cover handles a 180 degree arc basically,
    so watch your sides, and move if you are getting flanked.
    --Bring a mix of classes. No one class is great at everything. In general I'd
    take one of everything and two of your two favorite classes, or the ones that
    seem most applicable.
    --Don't send soldiers off alone, except in special cases. Enemies occur in
    groups, you should too.
    --Don't cluster soldiers all up though, that is just asking for a grenade. Stay
    a bit loose, but with overlapping fields of fire.
    --Stack up soldiers before breaching a door. Have one on each side, and maybe
    another looking in. Be ready for whatever baddies are on the other side.
    --If psionic enemies are giving you trouble, consider bringing a SHIV. They are
    immune to psi attacks. Use them to get vision for snipers and then peg the
    aliens. Also a cloaked assault solder works great for the same purpose.
    Controlling a drone also works excellent for this.
    --Ghost armor gives you 100% crit chance when cloaked. Get it, use it, love it.
    --Chryssalids are priority targets. Not only do they do a good bit of damage,
    but they make another Chryssalid if they kill someone.
    --If a soldier gets mind controlled, kill the controlling alien ASAP. Cloak and
    Run & Gun, rain down death with your snipers, use your rockets, whatever it
    takes. Otherwise you can easily get in a situation of having to kill one of
    your own men.
    [2.0.0] Starting Out [2.0.0]
    When you first start the game, you'll be asked to choose a difficulty level
    from the choices Easy, Normal, Classic, and Impossible. Take the naming
    seriously. Classic is hard like the original games turned up a good bit and
    impossible nearly is. Under advanced options you'll find the ability to enable
    and disable the tutorial and Ironman mode.
    The tutorial in enabled by default for the first game, and disabled by default
    once you complete it once. However you can turn it on or off as you wish. Play
    the tutorial once, even if you are an X-Com veteran. This game is done in a
    rather different style, and the tutorial will teach you what you need to know.
    Ironman is a mode where there's only one save, and it is automatic. It is like
    some old school games such as Rogue where death is permanent. Anything you do,
    you live with. If you don't like that, and many people don't, then don't play
    it. However don't choose it and then get angry when you can't go back.
    [2.1.0] Difficulty Levels [2.1.0]
    So you've seen the four levels, but want more than a simple blurb as to what is
    different? No problem! The difficulty levels actually vary quite a bit about
    the game. For all the things I'll list them in the format of
    Funding: Your monthly funding is 150%/100%/100%/100% of normal.
    Soldier starting HP: 6/5/4/3 (plus one more from armor).
    Enemy AI: On levels under classic, it is shackled and is not as smart as it can
    be. It will make suboptimal moves and it doesnít tend to use grenades much
    (particularly on easy).
    Max aliens active at once: 5/5/Unlimited/Unlimited.
    Total aliens in a mission. On Classic it can be a few more, on Impossible it
    can be a lot more.
    Enemy damage bonus: It varies per critter and is as follows:
    	Thin man: -2/-2/0/0
    	Chryssalid: 0/0/2/2
    	Chryssalid Zombie: 0/0/2/4
    	Muton Berzerker: 0/0/1/3
    Enemy aim bonus: 0/0/10/10 except for Outsiders who are 0/0/10/20 and melee
    units which don't get any (since it isn't relevant).
    Enemy crit bonus: 0/0/10/10 except for the Uber Etherial who is 0/0/10/20
    Enemy HP bonus: Varies a lot per critter but is 0 for Easy and Normal, 2-4 for
    Classic and about half the enemies have it, and 1-5 for Impossible and all the
    enemies have it.
    How many engineers and scientists regions give you per month per satellite. On
    Classic and Impossible they are half what you get on Easy and Normal.
    Starting equipment: On lower levels, you have an extra satellite to deploy
    where you want (the first is over your base), on higher levels you get only the
    one. Also on lower levels you have the OTS already built, on higher levels you
    must build it yourself.
    Bonuses for you: On Easy and Normal the game "cheats" for you when you have
    four soldiers or less (three or less on normal). The less you have, the more
    aim bonus your guys get, and the bigger an aim penalty the aliens get. There
    are also aim bonuses each time you miss a shot, and a penalty each time the
    aliens hit. Basically it means that if your squad start to get low on people
    they go a bit superhero, and it is more likely you can still pull out the
    So turning up difficulty increases quite a bit, but the real big divide is
    Easy/Normal and Classic/Impossible. There is a BIG jump from Normal to Classic.
    Classic is fun, it is tense, but it can be very hard and frustrating. If you
    aren't sure, give Normal a try if you are a turn based strategy player, Easy if
    not. I'd save Classic for a second play through.
    [2.2.0] Choosing Your Location [2.2.0]
    When you first start a game, it will ask you where you'd like your base to be.
    Your choice decides what bonus you get to have. To get the other bonuses, you
    need to completely blanket that region is satellites. As such your choice is
    not only based on which region has a bonus you like, but also how many sats it
    takes to cover. South America takes 2, North America and Africa take 3, Europe
    and Asia take 4. So if you are going for multiple bonuses as soon as you can,
    it can be beneficial to take a base in one of the 4 country regions. In terms
    of the bonuses here they are in descending order of usefulness:
    North America: Air and Space
    All aircraft and air weapons cost 50% less to build and maintain. This is by
    far the best overall bonus in my opinion. You are going to spend a lot of money
    on interceptors and their guns over the course of the game. This will also make
    it much less painful to maintain them in multiple regions early on. When you
    place a sat in a new region, you need to buy interceptors for it to do any
    good. This really helps with the cost.
    Asia: Future Combat
    All training at the OTS and all foundry projects cost 50% less. A close second.
    You tend to spend money in the OTS early on, when it is tight, since the
    upgrades are useful. Also, there's quite a few foundry projects and cutting
    their cost is nice.
    Africa: All In
    You get 30% more money per month. More money is always good, and this means
    each sat you launch is even more useful (you get bonus monthly money when you
    have satellite coverage on a country).
    Europe: Expert Knowledge
    All labs and workshops cost 50% less to build and maintain. This is nice
    particularly since you may want to build a bunch of workshops quickly to reduce
    later costs, but of course that can be hard to get the money for up front.
    South America: We Have Ways
    All autopsies and interrogations complete immediately. While it sounds cool,
    after a bit the limiting factor with research is likely to be weapon fragments
    and the like, not time. Also since there are only two countries in the region,
    it is by far the easiest to get later.
    Any starting location is perfectly valid and you can beat the game, however you
    most likely will find you have an easier time of it if you start in North
    America or Asia than in South America.
    [2.3.0] The First Mission [2.3.0]
    Once you choose your base, the game will dump you in to the first mission. If
    you have the tutorial on, it'll lead you by the nose slowly introducing you to
    things one by one, and guiding your initial base construction and a later
    mission. It is all pretty scripted.
    If you don't have the tutorial on it'll give you four soldiers and set you down
    in the country where you base is to be. You'll then have to track down and kill
    four sectoids (more on higher difficulties), the idea being each soldier gets a
    kill and thus a promotion, though it often doesn't work out that way. Once that
    is done, you are sent on your way to your base to do as you please.
    [3.0.0] Building Your Base [3.0.0]
    Once the intro mission is done the first thing you'll be doing is looking at
    your base. Despite not having a ton to do right now, you still want to plan it
    out and think about where things go. The reason is Adjacency Bonuses. Most
    facilities will offer you a bonus when they are next to a facility of the same
    type. In some cases it isn't all that big a deal, but it often helps out quite
    a bit. For example you get one extra satellite for each facility you have
    adjacent. The net effect is that if you build two Satellite Uplinks and two
    Satellite Nexuses in a square, you can have enough to cover the whole world. If
    you build them spread out, you'll need more facilities.
    [3.1.0] Excavation [3.1.0]
    You also need to plan in terms of excavation, both making sure you have things
    dug out and making sure you have the money to do so. To be able to build a room
    on a square it must be excavated, and must be adjacent to either the lift, a
    built room or an excavated square on the same level. You can only move up and
    down via the lift, an excavated square above the one you wish to excavate does
    Excavation costs double as you go deeper. The costs are as follows:
    Level 1: $10
    Level 2: $20
    Level 3: $40
    Level 4: $80
    It takes 5 days to excavate a square. You may see some squares that are already
    "pre-excavated", they are just available for use, as soon as you connect to
    them with the lift/excavated squares.
    To go down to lower levels, you have to build your lift out lower. It costs
    $50, 2 power, and $10/month on each level to build. The lift shaft is always
    You also will notice one or more (I've seen as many as three) squares that say
    "Steam". These are special squares in that not only can you build any normal
    facility, but you can also build a Thermo Generator on them. Thermo Generators
    generate quite a bit of power per square, so making use of steam squares can be
    a very good idea and you may wish to plan your base accordingly.
    [3.2.0] Permanent Facilities [3.2.0]
    Your base has a number of permanent facilities that you can see when you look
    around, but cannot add or remove. These are Mission Control, the Hanger, The
    Barracks, Research, Engineering, The Situation Room, and the Memorial. These
    are all above the area you build in, so are of no concern to construction.
    [3.3.0] Additional Facilities [3.3.0]
    When you get your base, it comes with an Officer Training School, a Satellite
    Uplink and nothing else. You can also build a Power Generator and a Thermo
    Generator. Other buildings are unlocked with various events, and research.
    Note that with regards to costs: Money and items are used in the construction,
    spent and never come back. Power is used so long as that building is present,
    but is refunded if you demolish the facility. Engineers and scientists are
    minimum requirements, but are not used in construction and still count for all
    other minimums.
    Officer Training School
    Costs: $125, 3 power $15/month, soldier ranked Sergeant or above.
    Build Time: 8 days.
    This lets you purchase abilities that enhance your squad in various ways. On
    high levels you have to buy it, and it unlocks when you get a Sergeant (the
    first rank that could actually buy something from it). On low levels you start
    with it. However be warned there doesn't appear to be any way to rebuild it on
    low levels.
    Trent notes that if you remove it you lose ALL training done at it. So don't
    remove it, even on higher levels.
    The things you can train are:
    Squad Size I: Costs $50 and requires a Sergeant to unlock. This lets you have 5
    soldiers in your squad, instead of 4. Get this ASAP.
    Squad Size II: Costs $75 and requires a Captain to unlock. This lets you have a
    full 6 soldier squad. Also get this ASAP.
    New Guy: Costs $250 and requires a Major to unlock. This makes all new recruits
    start out as a Squaddie instead of Rookie, and instantly promotes any Rookies
    you have left. This is kind of useful, but not a big deal. Only get it if
    you've money to spare.
    Rapid Recovery: Costs $150 and requires a Lieutenant to unlock. This halves the
    recovery time of soldiers who are wounded in battle. This is very useful and
    well worth getting.
    Don't Die On Me: Costs $275 and requires a Colonel to unlock. This makes it
    more likely soldiers are critically wounded, rather than killed, with an
    increasing chance based on rank. How much is unknown. Given that, I can't say
    how useful it is, but I'd get it on Ironman particularly.
    Wet Work: Costs $125 and requires a Sergeant to unlock. This gives soldiers 25%
    more XP. This is nice, but don't stretch the budget to get it. It is more
    useful later on for replacing veterans that die.
    Iron Will: Costs $200 and requires a Major to unlock. This increases the will a
    soldier gets on level up. Extremely useful, get it as soon as you can afford it
    as will is very critical.
    Satellite Uplink
    Costs: $150, 5 power, and 10 engineers per uplink or nexus after the first,
    Build Time: 14 days.
    Adjacency Bonus:  One extra satellite when they are touching another uplink or
    This lets you have two more satellites per facility and as such is critical.
    Satellites decrease panic in the nations they are over, let you find UFOs which
    get you materials and further decrease panic when you kill them, and when you
    cover an entire region with satellites, you get that region's bonus. Lots of
    satellite coverage is key to doing well, so get a second one as soon as you
    Power Generator
    Costs: $60, $11/month.
    Adjacency Bonus: Two power for each adjacent power facility of any kind.
    As you'd expect gives you power, 6 in particular. However, you shouldn't build
    it unless you have to, since the Thermo Generator is so much more efficient.
    Thermo Generator
    Costs: $200, $23/month.
    Build Time: 8 days.
    Adjacency Bonus: Two power for each adjacent power facility of any kind.
    This is the thing to get as soon as practical. It provides 20 power, and as
    such makes much more efficient use of space, and costs the same amount per
    power unit, and less in maintenance.
    Prerequisites: Have 6 scientists.
    Build Time: 10 days.
    Costs: $125, 3 power, 6 scientists for the first, 10 for the second, and 5 more
    per lab thereafter, $24/month.
    Adjacency Bonus: 10% research speed increase per adjacent laboratory.
    This gives you a 20% boost to your research speed. Players of the old X-Com may
    immediately seek these out, but they are not all that useful in this game. The
    problem is that often as not you are limited by your supply of weapon fragments
    for research, not time. Also the aliens increase in power is partly tied to
    your own. So doing super-fast research is not so useful. A single lab can be
    worth it but I wouldn't build many more.
    Prerequisites: Have 6 engineers.
    Build Time: 10 days.
    Costs: $130, 3 power, 6 engineers for the first, 15 for the second, and 10 more
    per workshop thereafter, $26/month.
    Adjacency Bonus: 7% refund on resources used in building vehicles, facilities,
    and foundry projects per adjacent workshop.
    These give you 5 engineers per workshop built, and when adjacent give you back
    resources when projects finish. As such, they are extremely useful because more
    engineers allow for different things to be built, and lower the cost of things
    you build. It is worth looking at getting a block of four of them to get a big
    boost in engineer numbers as well as a good refund.
    Alien Containment
    Prerequisites: Research Xeno-Biology
    Build Time: 7 days.
    Costs: $85, 5 power, $18/month.
    You only need one of these (and can't build more), but it is quite necessary.
    It lets you capture and interrogate live aliens. This is required to advance
    the game, and also interrogations give you research credit, speeding up the
    research of various topics.
    The Foundry
    Prerequisites: Research Experimental Warfare
    Build Time: 10 days.
    Costs: $75, 3 power, $20/month.
    The lets you upgrade existing weapons and items. More or less it is another
    research facility, but one that concentrates on improvements rather than new
    technologies. So you can improve your pistol, or medkit and so on at this
    facility. You only need and can only build one.
    Satellite Nexus
    Prerequisites: Research Alien Nav Computer
    Build Time: 21 days.
    Costs: $300, 8 power, 25 alloys, 2 UFO Flight Computers, 15 engineers per
    facility, on top of what the uplinks require, $26/month.
    Works just like the Satellite Uplink, but controls 4 sats instead of 2. Two of
    these and two uplinks in a block is enough to get coverage for all countries.
    Elerium Generator
    Prerequisites: Research Alien Power Source
    Build Time: 14 days.
    Adjacency Bonus: Two power for each adjacent power facility of any kind.
    Costs: $275, 8 power, 30 elerium, 40 alloys, 2 UFO Power Source, 55 engineers,
    Provides 30 power per square.  As such it is the most efficient power facility,
    space wise, you can build. However it has a rather steep cost in materials. One
    of these and two Thermo Generators should be enough to power even a pretty
    large base.
    PSI Lab
    Prerequisites: Interrogate a Sectoid Commander
    Build Time: 14 days.
    Costs: $200, 3 power, 20 alloys, 20 ellurium, $30/month.
    This allows you to test your soldiers for psionic abilities. You can choose up
    to three soldiers (and only three, you can't build multiple labs) and stick
    them in it for 10 days, during which time they are unavailable for missions. At
    the end, it'll let you know if any of them have psionic ability. If so, they
    are promoted and unlock the first tier of abilities.
    Hyperwave Relay
    Prerequisites: Research Hyperwave Communication
    Build Time: 14 days.
    Costs: $175, 4 power, 10 alloys, $30/month.
    This facility both allows you to see information on alien ships, and is
    required to advance the game. Once built it sits for a while before becoming
    operational. Once it does, you will get detailed information on a UFO, its
    type, crew compliment, mission, etc, when you go after it. It will also trigger
    a new stage of the game, where you'll have to shoot down a new kind of UFO. As
    such you may wish to delay building it until you are ready to build new
    interceptors. You can't get rid of it, once built.
    Gollop Chamber
    Prerequisites: Ethereal Device
    Build Time: 14 days.
    Costs: $200, 5 Power, 10x elerium, 10x alloys, 1x Ethereal Device, $100/month.
    This is the building you use to start the final mission and finish the game. It
    also gives a special psionic ability to one of your soldiers. It is the game
    ender, so you build it and use it when you are ready to be done.
    [4.0.0] Soldiers [4.0.0]
    Your soldiers are the backbone of your forces. They are the ones you send out
    on missions and the ones who have to worry about a Chryssalid making an
    amuse-bouche out of their fingers. As such you will spend a good deal of your
    time managing with them.
    [4.1.0] Soldier Stats [4.1.0]
    A soldier has 4 stats: HP, Will, Defense and Aim. On the soldier screen each
    stat is listed as the base number and then + a bonus number from gear.
    HP is hit points, as you might expect. When they reach zero, your soldier dies
    or is critically injured. Soldiers start out with 6/5/4/3 HP on
    Easy/Normal/Classic/Impossible and gain it as they level. Assault, Heavy and
    Support classes gain it every other level starting at Squaddie, Snipers every
    other level starting at Corporal. All armor also adds to your HP, how much
    depends on the type.
    Will is your ability to resist panic, resist psionic attacks, and to conduct
    psionic attacks. Rookies start with 40 and 200 seems to be the max, However it
    is rare to see even 100. Near as I can tell, all soldiers gain 2-6 per level
    plus 2-4 more if Iron Will has been purchased. Psi Armor and Mind Shields add
    to will.
    Defense is your ability to avoid incoming fire. It is 0 base in all cases,
    however some armors and items can add to it. Most defense comes from being in
    cover on a mission. Partial cover is 20 defense, full cover is 40 defense.
    Aim is your ability to hit targets. Rookies start with 65 and again 200 seems
    to be the max. As a practical matter, you don't tend to see over 105, and then
    only on snipers. How much you gain on level up depends on class. Snipers gain
    the most, from 3-10 per level, Heavies gain the least, 1-2 per level.
    [4.2.0] What Class Will My Soldier Be? [4.2.0]
    Something that perplexes many is how to choose or influence what class their
    soldier becomes. The bad news? You can't. It is completely random. When a
    solider is promoted from Rookie to Squaddie the game randomly chooses a class
    for them. Nothing you can do to change it. So if you don't get what you want,
    you have to go get another solider and try again. Rather annoying, but that is
    how it works at present.
    Mark adds "Save before killing the last alien on the early missions. When you
    get back to base and you don't like the class your rookie has taken, reload and
    kill the last alien again. You will be randomly given another class."
    [4.3.0] How Does Experience Work? [4.3.0]
    This is something I'm not 100% sure on, and so far examination of the game's
    resources hasn't helped. However play testing shows that kills are a sure-fire
    way to get experience. Non-lethal takedowns with the arc thrower do NOT get you
    any experience at all. It does not appear that simply going on a mission gets
    you any. I am unsure if other abilities get you any or not. Kills are, at this
    time, the main confirmed way to get experience. If anyone has different
    information, let me know.
    Examining the games files shows that the experience table is:
    Rookie: 0
    Squaddie: 90
    Corporal: 300
    Sergeant: 510
    Lieutenant: 745
    Captain: 1100
    Major: 1560
    Colonel: 2150
    However, without any context for what amount of experience you get per kill or
    the like, it isn't that useful. Basically, if you want a guaranteed way to rank
    soldiers up, have them kill aliens. It also appears now that they gain some XP
    simply by participating in a mission, but how much is unknown. You will
    sometimes see a soldier level, even though it didn't say so in the mission.
    Also note a soldier can get no more than one promotion per level. So once the
    game lets you know they've received a promotion, with a message and a + symbol
    over their rank icon, further kills won't rank them up more for that mission.
    Thus if you have a rookie along for training, don't put everyone at risk
    letting them get all the kills, just enough until they level up once and that
    is it.
    Ranks are this game's levels. When you gain a rank, you gain stats, and also an
    ability. As such veteran soldiers are significantly more powerful than rookies,
    so it behooves you to try and keep them alive when practical.
    [4.4.0] The Classes [4.4.0]
    Once a soldier gets a kill and ranks up to Squaddie, they get assigned to one
    of four classes with different abilities and weapons.
    [4.4.1] Assault [4.4.1]
    The assault class is basically a rusher. They are designed around getting up
    close and personal with the enemies. Their canonical ability is Run & Gun which
    lets them execute both movements, and then still either fire or go in to
    overwatch. As such they make excellent scouts for racing up and revealing
    things, and still being able to do something, and great breachers inside ships.
    They also can be useful for saving a soldier who's gotten themselves in a bad
    position. You should really always take along at least one assault.
    They are also the only class that you can choose their primary weapon. They use
    scatter guns (shotguns) or assault rifles. Which you choose depends on your
    play style. Shotguns are for if you like to get right up in the enemy's face,
    particularly if you like to rush around and flank. They have an increased crit
    chance and up close they are devastating damage wise. Assault rifles are for if
    you want to stay back a bit as you do with other classes. Despite the run and
    gun nature of assault, arming them with rifles is useful and is actually my
    preferred loadout.
    As with most classes, they carry a pistol as their off weapon.
    [4.4.2] Heavy [4.4.2]
    An aptly named class, the heavy carries your heavy weapons. Their main gun is a
    light machine gun (which despite the 'light' name is heavier than a rifle), and
    their off weapon is a rocket launcher. They also can carry two grenades with a
    perk later on.
    Despite all that, they are not as generally useful as you might hope. The LMG
    doesn't do that much more damage than other weapons, and heavies have poor aim
    overall, so they'll miss a lot. The rocket is strong, and long range, but like
    all explosives will destroy anything but corpses, precluding the recovery of
    any weapon fragments. They also lack a pistol, as the rocket launcher is their
    second weapon, and the LMG eats ammo badly.
    As such their usefulness is a bit limited. They aren't worthless though. They
    can get a perk to do double damage against robotic enemies which makes them a
    menace against cyberdiscs, and a well-placed rocket can be the difference
    between one of your troops getting their face eaten by a Chryssalid and not.
    However if you need to take more of some class, I'd trade off the heavy in most
    [4.4.3] Sniper [4.4.3]
    Your typical snipey class. They carry a sniper rifle and a pistol. The sniper
    rifle is very accurate at long distances, but can only be fired on the first
    turn (unless you get an ability to change that). As such they seem a little
    limited at first, however they get an ability that will let them shoot at any
    enemy that any soldier can see, so long as they have a clear shot. This makes
    them very much the classic sniper, hanging back and blasting targets from
    They are particularly useful for helping with hard targets. Say your assault or
    support soldier discovers and shoots at a target, but doesn't kill it. So long
    as the sniper has a shot, they can hit it too, usually with pretty good
    Their usefulness does vary based on map. The more open the map, the more useful
    the sniper. If you are going down a bunch of small corridors, a sniper is
    probably not so good. However on a city map they can destroy. I generally bring
    two snipers on open maps, one on more enclosed maps.
    [4.4.4] Support [4.4.4]
    Despite the name, this is your general go-to soldier. If you can't decide what
    class to bring in a spot, bring a support. They are good at pretty much
    everything. While a healbot may be the first thing that comes to mind, and they
    are good at that, they also can be extremely mobile, can suppress, can take two
    items, have pretty good aim, and so on. The jack of all trades, master of the
    healybotting. They carry an assault rifle and pistol. I usually run with two of
    them, and sometimes will take another. They are just that generally useful.
    [4.5.0] The Abilities [4.5.0]
    Each rank a soldier gets brings new abilities. At Squaddie and Major there is
    only one ability which you receive, however at all other ranks you have a
    choice between two abilities. In some cases both are equally good, in some
    cases they are situational, and in others one is much better. Here's a
    breakdown of what the abilities are, what they do, and which are preferable:
    [4.5.1] Assault Abilities [4.5.1]
    -=Run & Gun=- (2 turn cooldown)
    This is what makes an assault class what it is. When you activate it, you may
    move any amount up to the limit of your dash, and then fire your weapon, or go
    in to overwatch afterwards. You can activate it on either turn, so you can
    move, activate Run & Gun, then move again and fire, or you can activate it on
    the first turn, dash, then fire.
    You use this ability for scouting and breaching. If you want to dash ahead of
    the group to look for enemies and give your snipers targets, Run & Gun is a
    great way to make sure you can lay down some hurt when you get there. It is
    also great for breaching rooms in the alien ships. When you have a long
    corridor with little cover an assault or two in Run & Gun mode can clear the
    whole distance and go in to overwatch at the other end, allowing the squad to
    move up safely.
    Also useful for shotgun assaults to run around the enemy's cover and give them
    a wedgie from behind. When you flank an enemy and get right next to them, your
    attack is usually 100%, and your crit chance can be as well.
    -=Agression=- [not recommended]
    This increases your crit chance by 10% per enemy in sight, up to 30%. Sounds
    cool off the bat, but a high crit is mostly of interest to shotgun assaults and
    you don't really want to be running in to the middle of a bunch of enemies in
    that case. It isn't useless, but it isn't as good as the alternative.
    -=Tactical Sense=- [recommended]
    This gives you +5 defense per enemy in sight, up to +20. This is pretty useful
    in any situation as more defense is always nice, however it is particularly
    good if you happen to get yourself in more trouble than expected with a Run &
    Gun dash. If there's a bunch of enemies firing on you, this helps make more of
    them miss.
    -=Close & Personal=- [not recommended]
    This gives you 30% more crit when you are close to a target, and the bonus
    drops off with distance pretty quick. Nice for shotgun assaults though not a
    huge thing since a close up shotgun has a high crit chance anyhow usually.
    However, the problem is the other ability here is just too good.
    -=Lightning Reflexes=- [HIGHLY recommended]
    An amazing ability. With this, the first reaction shot an enemy takes against
    you misses, no matter what. This is a lifesaver with Run & Gun when you charge
    in and there is an enemy on overwatch. Not only is it good for surprise
    situations, but in general if there's an enemy on overwatch and you need to
    move. Say you want to move a support, but there's an enemy on overwatch and
    nobody has a good shot. No problem, have your assault run by, draw the shot,
    and then the support can move freely.
    There is just no reason not to get this.
    -=Rapid Fire=-
    With this you take two shots on an enemy, but both with a 15% aim penalty. How
    useful this is largely depends on play style. If you do the "rush in close and
    shotgun" thing then this can be a great ability against heavy targets. Getting
    up close and flanking a target and using this can drop even pretty powerful
    enemies in one shot. You can use it after activating Run & Gun.
    However, it is not so useful at range. If your chance to hit is only 50%
    anyhow, this would drop it to 35% and just eat up ammo. So it is one to take
    only if you use your assault unit in an aggressive fashion. Otherwise, choose
    This causes enemies to run out of cover. You get a decent bonus to hit with it,
    but it doesn't do much damage. However it is extremely useful because, well, it
    gets enemies out of cover. You tag them with a Flush shot, and then have a
    sniper poke a hole in their head. Can work wonders against an enemy that is
    well entrenched in good cover. I use it with rifle assaults to great effect.
    -=Bring 'Em On [not recommended]=-
    This gives you one more critical damage per enemy the squad can see, up to a
    max of five. Sounds pretty good, extra damage is always nice, but can't hold a
    candle to the other ability.
    -=Close Combat Specialist=- [HIGHLY recommended]
    This lets you take a free shot at any enemy that gets within four tiles of your
    soldier. This is independent of your overwatch reaction shot and is automatic;
    you don't have to choose it. This is just critical for when you get up close
    and personal with the enemy. When a Chryssalid pops out and comes to nom on
    your face, this is the ability that will save you. It works great watching
    doors as well. There is just nothing like an extra reaction shot that you don't
    have to do anything for.
    -=Extra Conditioning=-
    This increases your armor's health bonus, the heavier the armor, the bigger the
    bonus. Now you might think this means you should stick titan armor on your
    assaults. That can be done, but it turns out ghost armor really works better
    overall. Stealth mode + Run & Gun = a bad time for aliens.
    -=Killer Instinct=-
    With this, you get 50% crit damage for the turn any time you activate Run &
    Gun. Nothing to dislike here, more damage is always a good thing. Can be
    particularly lethal for high crit shotgun assaults. Synergizes well with ghost
    armor, since you have 100% crit chance when you are cloaked.
    This makes you completely immune to critical hits. Again, nothing to dislike
    here. If it is better than Killer Instinct depends largely on play style, but
    also on difficulty. On higher difficulties, aliens get crit bonuses. As such,
    Resilience can help a lot.
    [4.5.2] Heavy Abilities [4.5.2]
    -=Fire Rocket=-
    This is what gives you the rocket launcher, instead of the pistol, as your
    second weapon. Do note you can only fire the rocket once per battle. Also it
    requires both action points to fire, you can't have moved first.
    -=Bullet Swarm=- [slightly recommended]
    With this when you fire your LMG, it doesn't end your turn. This lets you fire
    and then move, fire then reload, or fire twice. It is pretty useful since it
    not only adds firepower, but also flexibility. In particular the ability to
    fire and reload can be really useful to a heavy, since they chew through ammo.
    However it does only apply to regular shots. You can't suppress and reload in a
    round, or fire a rocket and your LMG.
    This gives everyone in your squad +10 aim on any target the heavy has fired at
    or suppressed. It can be useful, particularly on tough aliens in cover. You
    have the heavy suppress the alien, reducing its aim, and then have the rest of
    your squad fire on it with increased aim.
    -=Shredder Rocket=-
    This gives you a rocket that does less damage than a normal rocket, but
    increases the damage the target takes from all sources by 33% for 4 rounds.
    This is more useful than it might sound at first. You don't actually want to
    kill things with explosives since you don't get any weapon fragments if you do.
    Also, for tough enemies this can really kick up the overall damage you do.
    This allows you to suppress enemies. Instead of shooting at an enemy to do
    damage, your heavy continually fires at the enemy to suppress it. That reduces
    the enemy's aim by 30, and also will let the heavy take a shot at the target if
    it moves. Suppression is very useful for making an alien stay put while someone
    sneaks up to stun it with an arc thrower, or any time where something is just a
    little too accurate for your liking. Suppression eats a ton of ammo though, so
    you have to reload after using it before you can use it again.
    -=HEAT Ammo=- [recommended]
    This doubles your damage against robotic targets. Now when you first start the
    game this doesn't seem very useful, however some of the most powerful enemies
    are robotic, so against them it makes the heavy a beast. This works on both the
    LMG and the rocket launcher.
    -=Rapid Reaction=- [not recommended]
    With this the soldier fires a second overwatch shot, if the first shot is a
    hit. Sounds useful, but HEAT Ammo is better overall, particularly since heavies
    don't tend to have great aim and thus are prone to missing reaction shots since
    they have an aim penalty.
    This lets you carry two grenades. You don't get another inventory slot, just if
    you put a grenade, regular or alien, in your inventory slot you get to take two
    on the mission. Useful is you like lobbing grenades about, though as with any
    explosives you want to be careful since you don't get weapon shards for
    explosive kills. How useful it is entirely depends on how much you like using
    grenades. If you don't give your heavy a grenade, it does nothing.
    -=Danger Zone=-
    This increases the radius of rocket explosions and suppression by two tiles. If
    you like spamming rockets instead of grenades this is your thing for sure.
    However it is also useful for suppression since instead of suppressing just the
    target you aim at, it will also suppress any targets within two tiles of that
    target at well. If you take Suppression and/or Rocketeer, this is the ability
    to get.
    -=Will to Survive=-
    With this a heavy takes two less damage than normal so long as they are in
    cover and not flanked. This is real nice since it just reduces any and all
    damage they'd take, whatever the source, and you should always strive to be in
    -=Rocketeer=- [slightly recommended]
    With this you get to fire another rocket per battle. Over all, this is probably
    the way to go. Rockets are very flexible since they have a large hit area and a
    fairly long range, as well as going where you tell them. Having another one can
    be very useful.
    This increases your AoE damage, and your suppression damage. How much depends
    on how high up the tech tree your weapon is. In general this is probably not as
    useful as having a second rocket, since it increases damage, it does is not
    doubled, and enemies usually stay put when suppressed, however if you like
    grenades and not rockets it is the way to go.
    [4.5.3] Sniper [4.5.3]
    -=Headshot=- (2 turn cooldown)
    This fires a shot with +30% cirt chance, and also bonus crit damage that
    increases with higher tech weapons. This is extremely useful against hard
    targets. A good headshot can one-shot even some very tough aliens with a good
    rifle. However since it has a cooldown, you want to choose when to use it with
    some care, don't spam it on easy targets, and don't waste it on low chance
    shots. It does not increase chance to hit, only to crit.
    -=Squad Sight=- [HIGHLY recommended]
    This is what makes snipers godlike. With it, they can take a shot on any enemy
    any squad member can see, so long as they have a clear shot to it. Basically
    you take your sniper, park them some place up high with good lines of sight,
    and rain down death on targets with impunity. It is great when someone gets
    themselves in a bind as the sniper can take the target out usually. It is the
    only way to go for snipers.
    -=Snap Shot=- [not recommended]
    This allows you to fire your weapon after moving, like other classes, but at a
    -20 aim penalty. Sounds nice because your sniper can keep up with people, but
    just not worth it since you have to sacrifice Squad Sight. Also, given the aim
    penalty, it makes the sniper far less useful since accuracy is a big reason to
    take a sniper.
    Digitalyak disagrees. He says:
    "I would just like to say though that in my games so far (I've completed
    Classic and Normal) that I find Squad sight far less useful than Snapshot.
    All my snipers use SCOPES (as there's not a lot else for them to use...) so
    you've already eliminated half the aim penalty. Secondly, because you can now
    move them much closer (and to better positions) you remove the rest of the aim
    penalty. So now it's a semi Run and Gun ability for the snipers.
    I use a scout (possibly ghosted) to find where the aliens are, use my snipers'
    first move to get into the best position for a flank/rear shot, and then frag
    them with one shot kills - and with a plasma sniper rifle, you can seriously
    dish out the damage. I've taken out many a cyberdisc with a one shot kill this
    By using Squad sight, you can safely take sniper shots from a distance, but I
    found the distance reduces the aim % too negatively, and unless the map is the
    forest one, there's usually something blocking their shot."
    Sycraft replies:
    This isn't entirely true though, since sniper accuracy DECREASES as you get
    closer to the target, unlike most classes. Also the SCOPE aim is useful
    period, even with no penalty. You can't have too much +hit.
    -=Damn Good Ground=- [recommended]
    This ability gives you +10 to aim and +10 to defense if you are on higher
    ground. Flying counts, so Archangel Armor works wonders with this. Also the
    added defense is great when flying since you only have 20 inherent defense in
    the air, and this adds another 10, making you just 10 shy of being in full
    -=Gunslinger=- [not recommended]
    With this pistols deal two more damage than normal. It takes them from useless
    to mostly useless :). Generally your sniper isn't going to move and shoot. You
    want to move them just to get LOS for sniper shots. I suppose if you really
    like running your snipers around, or if you take a lot of snipers and need them
    to be able to double as weak assault troops it could work. Make sure to upgrade
    pistols in the foundry if you do.
    -=Disabling Shot=- (2 turn cooldown)
    This fires a shot that empties all the ammo out of an enemy's weapon, in
    addition to doing damage. They have to reload before they can fire again, which
    means they can't fire for one round. However it can't crit and has a -10 aim
    penalty. It can be useful against though enemies if there just isn't the
    firepower to kill them, you can stop them from firing on your troops for a bit.
    However if you've the ability to go for a kill shot, do that instead.
    Tyler adds: "Disabling shot for the snipers can be a great mind-control 
    counter. I've definitely saved my squad more than once by using it on my own 
    MCed guys."
    Good point, given the lower damage and zero crit chance, it is a way to take 
    them out of the game for a round but probably not kill them.
    -=Battle Scanner=-
    This gives you a grenade like device that you can toss out that reveals the
    map, and any enemies, around it in a pretty wide radius for two turns. You can
    toss out two of them per battle. Quite useful, since not only do they give you
    forward vision but enemies don't notice them and scatter, so you can get the
    drop on them. The only thing that limits their usefulness is that you tend to
    keep snipers in the back, since they are the ones which you'd want to fire the
    ambush shots. Still, there are plenty of useful situations for them.
    With this you get +10 aim at any target under half health. Don't overlook the
    usefulness of this, as snipers make great finishers. If a forward class
    damaged, but couldn't kill, a tough enemy this helps a sniper finish the job.
    -=Opportunist=- [slightly recommended]
    This eliminates the aim penalty for reaction shots, and lets them crit. Since a
    sniper can get a reaction shot on aliens with squad sight, this is very useful.
    An alien pops its head out and gets blasted from afar. It makes snipers really
    lethal on overwatch.
    -=Low Profile=-
    This causes all cover to count as full cover, even when it is partial. Nice
    ability, just a pity it is for the sniper, who is often as not way in the back
    out of harm's way anyhow. Still, it means if your sniper is forward and there
    is a choice of full and partial cover, you don't need to worry, let the other
    classes have the better cover, the sniper can take partial cover.
    -=In The Zone=-
    With this when you kill a target that is not in cover or that you are
    flanking, it doesn't count as an action. This ability can be godly in the right
    situation, but useless in others. It synergizes really well with an assault
    with Flush and ghost armor. You cloak your assault, have them run forward and
    find a group of Mutons sitting around in a circle playing scrabble. Your sniper
    then shoots one of them. They scatter, your assault flushes another, your
    sniper shoots him, and then the sniper shoots the third one. It does take some
    planning/work to make it worth it though but when it works right; you can empty
    your rifle in a round.
    -=Double Tap=-
    This lets you fire a second shot of any type, regular, headshot, or disabling,
    after your first one. A very useful ability, often more useful than In The
    Zone. Though you only get two shots, and the second one can only be a shot, you
    can't move or reload or anything, it works all the time, even on enemies in
    cover, and even on non-kill shots. So long as there's two things to shoot at
    (or one target that needs two shots) the sniper can take them.
    [4.5.4] Support [4.5.4]
    -=Smoke Grenade=-
    This gives you a grenade you can toss out that deploys a smoke field that gives
    all units, friendly and enemy, +20 defense for your turn and the enemy turn.
    It's a great way to increase the defense of a group of soldiers near each
    other, or to help someone out who got stuck out in the open. Be careful though,
    since as noted it works on enemies too. It isn't the kind of thing to toss in a
    room where you are doing close combat.
    -=Sprinter=- [recommended]
    With this your soldier can run 3 more tiles, per action point, than normal.
    Nothing not to like here, you can move farther, faster. Great for advancing in
    sparse cover, for getting to a squad mate to heal them, and so on. It really
    makes the support very useful.
    -=Covering Fire=- [not recommended]
    This lets you take reaction shots when an enemy fires, not just when they move.
    The problem is not only is sprinter very useful, but you generally don't want
    to do that. Reaction shots are useful for when enemies move in to view, because
    they are out of cover so the aim penalty isn't such a big deal. If the enemy is
    in cover and in range, well you probably want to take a normal shot at them, or
    to not shoot at them and do something else. A reaction shot is not generally
    something you'd do.
    -=Field Medic=- [recommended]
    Turns your support in to a healybot. This lets you carry 3 medkits, instead of
    one. Like the heavy's grenade ability, you still have only one slot, but if you
    stick a medkit in it, you get 3 uses. This is very, very useful. Medkits can
    quite often be the difference between a soldier coming home and not, so you
    want to have a few with you. However when they are single use, you have to
    either have very few, or devote a lot of item space to them. Two supports with
    this ability can have as many medkits as a full squad carrying nothing but. Of
    course it is only useful if you carry a medkit.
    -=Smoke and Mirrors=- [not recommended]
    This gives you one more smoke grenade to use (two in total). Useful, but not as
    good as more medkits. The only way I'd take this is if you are sure that this
    particular support won't be carrying medkits at all.
    This lets you revive critically wounded soldiers to 33% health, instead of just
    keeping them from dying. That way they can actually get back in the fight. In
    Ironman mode, this is really worth considering.
    -=Rifle Suppression=-
    Just like the heavy's suppression, this gives the target -30 aim and gives you
    a reaction shot if they move. It further increases the versatility of the
    support class. If you aren't taking a medkit, it is the way to go. If you are,
    it depends on your play style, if you try to save wounded soldiers, then take
    Revive. If you just let them die, or if you simply reload the game then this is
    the way to go.
    -=Combat Drugs=- [recommended]
    With this your smoke grenade also gives units in its AoE +20 will and +10%
    crit. This is very useful later in the game when psionic abilities, which cover
    does not help with, become a big threat.
    -=Dense Smoke=- [not recommended]
    With this your smoke grenade gives +20 additional defense, and has a larger
    area. Sounds nice, but as I said, psionics become a much bigger problem in
    general. Also the larger area makes it easier to accidentally cover enemies.
    -=Deep Pockets=-
    This is what turns supports from a good class in to an all-around great one: It
    lets you carry two items, instead of one. So take a medkit and grenade, or a
    chitin plate and an arc thrower. It is just extremely useful to be able to
    carry a second item and is one of the reasons supports are so great.
    This increases the amount medkits heal by 4. With improved medkits, that means
    10 points of healing which is enough to fully heal most wounds. For a healybot
    support, this needs serious consideration. Late game your soldiers can take
    some big hits, and this will let you heal most of them in one use.
    With this your soldier gets to take two reaction shots, instead of one. Now
    this isn't like the heavy's ability, rather they take a reaction shot on one
    enemy, and if another moves (or fires in the event you have that ability) they
    take another. It is fairly useful, and if you didn't take Field Medic, it is
    the way to go.
    [4.5.5] Psionic Abilities [4.5.5]
    All classes can get psionic abilities. What happens is after you've examined a
    sectoid commander, you'll learn how to build a PSI Lab. You can then put three
    soldiers at a time in it for 10 days, during which they'll be unavailable. At
    the end, you will find out if any of them have psionic abilities. If they do,
    you'll be able to train them. They rank up by using the abilities, and it
    really doesn't take all that much for them to reach the maximum. At the first
    level, everyone gets the same ability; at the next two you have a choice
    between offensive and defensive abilities.
    You can use Psi Inspiration to level psionic skills. Just spamming it will get
    you your final level. You only have to use the skills, not kill enemies with
    -=Mindfray=- (2 turn cooldown)
    This gives you an ability that hits a target for 5 damage and inflicts
    penalties to their will, aim, and mobility. It is a very useful little attack
    since psionics aren't affected by cover. So if there's an annoying Thin Man
    hiding in good cover, you can just Mindfray him and kill him (they are rather
    weak to psionics). Also, due to the will reduction, it is useful if you are
    going to try harder psionics on a target. Any time you have a low chance to
    hit, check your Mindfray chance, often it will be better, sometimes 100%.
    Like all psionic abilities, doesn't work on robots.
    -=Psi Inspiration=- (4 turn cooldown) [recommended]
    This removes Mindfray from all allies within 3 tiles of the soldier, and also
    boosts their will. Very useful for helping deal with panic, but also can be
    used to bolster will for psionic abilities. Good to use before going up against
    enemies that are good with psionics.
    -=Psi Panic=- (2 turn cooldown) [not recommended]
    This will panic an alien, if it works. Useful, but it is somewhat hard to hit
    and Inspiration is generally more useful. The problem is that much like your
    own units, panicked enemies are unpredictable. Often as not you'll panic them,
    and they'll open fire on the unit who used. Not so useful. Still, if you have a
    whole squad of psionic soldiers, maybe give this to one of them. Doesn't work
    on robots of course.
    -=Telekinetic Field=-
    This generates a very large field centered on the solder that increases the
    defense of all units, friendly or enemy, in it by 40. A psionic Dense Smoke
    grenade of sorts. Very useful when you have tough enemies firing on you, just
    be careful that you don't get them in it as well. It is quite large, and you
    can't target where it goes. Best used just before ending a turn.
    -=Mind Control=- (5 turn cooldown)
    As the name implies, this lets you take control of an enemy. This is really
    useful as you now have a shock troop, suicide scout, red shirt, basically a
    soldier you don't have to care about at all. However, it is really hard to make
    it work; it has a low chance of success on high will aliens, contrary to what
    you may have seen from the enemy, and has a long cooldown. Also unlike your
    soldiers, enemies seem not to panic after MC, and will come back looking for
    blood. Thus somewhat limited in overall usefulness. If you do take it, make
    sure to do so on soldiers with very high will, as they'll have a better chance
    of making it stick. Robots, lacking a mind, cannot be controlled. Still can be
    worth taking on at least a couple units.
    If you do have it, Mutons are going to be some of your primary targets, as
    their low will makes them reasonably easy to control. Don't even both with
    Etherals, you'll be lucky to have a 20% chance, if that.
    [5.0.0] Equipment [5.0.0]
    Just as important as getting better soldiers, is getting better equipment,
    perhaps even more so. It is amazing how much a rookie can do with good gear, or
    how bad a veteran will do if restricted to the intro gear. With weapons, it is
    pretty much just a case of straight upgrades: your research will lead you to
    new weapons that are better than your old ones. With armor, it is a bit more
    varied and with items it very much depends on what you want a soldier to do.
    However, in the beginning, you'll have no real choice as to what to take, other
    than if your assaults take rifles or shotguns.
    Note that equipment costs can be reduced by having more engineers, so if you
    want cheaper goods, a larger engineering force is the way to get them. Any
    engineers you have over the required amount, listed in costs, decreases the
    cost of the item. All costs should be the base cost, but it is always possible
    I messed something up. Let me know if so.
    [5.1.0] Armor [5.1.0]
    This is what stops you from dying so much, as you might expect. In X-Com
    armor's big function is to add hitpoints, so higher end armors give your troops
    more hitpoints and thus make them harder to kill. However, the higher end
    armors also add various abilities as well, which can influence your choice as
    to which to use.
    Body Armor
    Stats: +1 HP
    This is the basic armor you start with and have an unlimited amount of. It is
    just this side of useless and you should look to replace it as soon as is
    Carapace Armor
    Stats: +4 HP
    Costs: $25, 15 alloys, 10 engineers
    A much improved body armor that you should get as soon as you can, or look at
    Skeleton Suits. On higher difficulties it can nearly double the hitpoints of
    your troops.
    Skeleton Suit
    Stats: +3 HP, +10 defense, +3 move, grapple ability
    Costs: $30, 10 alloys, 15 engineers
    While it provides one less hitpoint than Carapace, the other abilities can
    potentially make this armor more useful. More movement is always nice and extra
    defense is nothing to sneer at. Defense is your chance to avoid damage
    entirely, rather than just to resist it, so it is worth having.
    With newer updates, the grappling hook has become a rather useful gadget. It'll
    show you valid squares for grappling and it has a pretty decent range. You
    can use it to hop up on buildings, and also to move across gaps when you are
    elevated. It can be good for getting snipers up high, getting out of trouble,
    or literally getting the drop on aliens. It makes the skeleton armor almost
    always the better choice than Carapace.
    Another advantage is that it costs only 10 alloys, which tend to be in short
    supply more than money does, at least on lower difficulties.
    Titan Armor
    Stats: +10 HP, poison immunity, fire immunity
    Costs: $150, 35 alloys, 10 elerium, 25 engineers
    This is the heaviest armor in the game. If you want just straight HP increase,
    this is the way to go. With this and a Chitin Plating, a soldier will likely
    survive even the hardest hits. Also the damage immunities are nice, you don't
    have to care about Thin Men spewing their crap everywhere anymore.
    Ghost Armor
    Stats: +6 HP, +20 defense, +3 move, grapple ability, stealth ability 4 times
    per battle
    Costs: $250, 40 alloys, 50 elerium, 40 engineers
    Despite the lesser HP, this is my vote for the ultimate armor. Its other
    abilities are just too good. The extra move is nice; grapple is useful
    sometimes as well. However the big deal is in the defense and stealth. 20
    defense is a lot, the same as being in half cover. So it turns no cover in to
    partial, partial in to full, and full in to extra. That is huge.
    Then there's the stealth ability. This is what makes it godlike. Four times per
    battle you can stealth, at no movement cost, and then remain hidden through the
    enemy round, provided you don't shoot. So it becomes amazing for scouting
    ahead, as it doesn't alert enemies and trigger their reaction move, and for
    escaping from dangerous situations. However it gets better: When stealthed you
    have a 100% crit bonus, on top of all others. Hence it is great even for snipers
    and non-front line units. It is a guaranteed crit on almost every baddie.
    On top of that, it has a grapple, which means it is extremely mobile. You can
    get up and around just like with the skeleton armor, and you can cloak and use
    grapple to escape from bad situations.
    Despite the cost, this is what to get for most of your units. Save up, get a
    bunch of engineers to lower it, do what it takes but get yourself a bunch of
    Ghost Armor. You won't be sorry. Combined with a Chitin Plating, you have the
    same HP bonus as Titan Armor, plus the extra defense, plus melee resistance,
    plus all the great abilities.
    Archangel Armor
    Stats: +8 HP, flight
    Costs: $200, 50 alloys, 35 elerium, 35 engineers
    As noted, this armor lets you fly. You can do 6 flight moves when you get it
    and it can be upgraded in the foundry. It also provides nearly as much HP as
    Titan Armor, making it a pretty nice suit of armor. In general though, Ghost is
    more useful.
    However Archangel is something to look at for your snipers. The reason is that
    only flight moves are limited, you can hover as much as you like. So you move
    your snipers up in the air, and they get great lines of sight to all the
    enemies with squad sight, plus the bonus form being up high. They can rain down
    death on all of the things. In general, they are the only ones I'd get it for
    Psi Armor
    Stats: +8 HP, +10 defense, +2 move, +20 will
    Costs: $400, 20 alloys, 40 elerium, 30 engineers
    The game kinda presents this as the "ultimate" armor, and it is the last one
    you'll unlock likely. For all that, it really isn't that epic. What with the
    will bonus it seems like the perfect armor for your PSI troops, but I wouldn't
    in general. While psionic abilities aren't useless, you are still going to be
    using your guns often as not, and if someone is going to be doing PSI stuff you
    want to choose someone with high will anyhow. You can try it, but I prefer
    Ghost Armor over it in general.
    However what it does excel at it if you need to bring out rookies late game to
    train them. Their low HP and low will makes them a real problem, and this helps
    fix both. So having a set or two for training people up can be something to
    consider. They do have to be pisonics trained to use it, however.
    Something to consider though is having one high will soldier, an assault if
    possible, with Psi Armor and a Mind Shield to scout against Sectoid Commanders
    and Etherals. That way they are close to immune to MC, and it is decent in
    terms of other stats as well. If you do that, I'd give that unit MC as well as
    they'll be good at it.
    [5.2.0] Weapons [5.2.0]
    These are the things that go "bang" or in X-Com more often "Pew! Pew!" Having
    good weapons is important if you are going to take down the tough aliens. You
    don't get much choice in terms of weapons, as class dictates what you have to
    take. It is pretty much just a linear progression up upgrades.
    [5.2.1] Pistols [5.2.1]
    Everyone except a Heavy has one of these, and when you try to use them you'll
    probably wish you didn't. They are extremely weak weapons. Their only advantage
    is unlimited ammo with no reloads, so you can use them when your main gun is
    empty, if a reload isn't a good idea. Also snipers will need to use their
    pistol if they wish to move and then overwatch.
    In general, due to their extremely limited use, I wouldn't worry about
    upgrading them too much. I'm not saying ignore them, but don't spend the
    resources unless you've nothing else that needs them. The only exception is the
    sniper's pistol, for them, getting a better one can be a good idea.
    Pistols can be improved a good bit at the foundry, but it is questionable how
    much it is worth spending the resources to do so, rather than something else.
    Base Damage: 1
    Critical Bonus: 0%
    Critical Damage: 1
    Slightly better than just staring at the aliens, but only slightly. Its only
    real use is to do a bit of damage to make aliens easier to capture with the Arc
    Laser Pistol
    Cost:  $10, 10 alloys, 10 engineers
    Base Damage: 2
    Critical Bonus: 10%
    Critical Damage: 3
    A little more useful and can actually take out weak aliens. Worth looking at
    getting for your snipers.
    Plasma Pistol
    Cost:  $100, 20 alloys, 10 elerium, 20 engineers
    Base Damage: 3
    Critical Bonus: 0%
    Critical Damage: 4
    Not really that great, considering the cost, though with pistol upgrades such
    as the crit chance upgrade it can be ok. Close to a basic Assault Rifle. Rather
    than spend resources I'd consider simply stealing them from enemies. If an
    enemy is using a Plasma Pistol and you stun it rather than kill it, you get to
    have the pistol.
    [5.2.2] Assault Rifles [5.2.2]
    Your standard main gun. All your rookies use them, as do your supports and your
    assaults can use them if you wish. You'll get a lot of mileage out of these.
    Assault Rifle
    Base Damage: 3
    Critical Bonus: 10%
    Critical Damage: 4
    Not great, but all you have in the beginning. Look to replace them when it is
    Laser Rifle
    Cost:  $25, 14 alloys, 12 engineers
    Base Damage: 5
    Critical Bonus: 10%
    Critical Damage: 7
    A substantially improved rifle. It will blast any weak enemy in one hit and
    does a good bit against stronger ones. Given its fairly low cost and easy
    research, this should be a top priority to get for your team. Even if for some
    reason you run no supports and don't use them they are still good to have. If
    you have to take a rookie out, things go much better with one of these.
    Light Plasma Rifle
    Cost:  $125, 20 alloys, 15 elerium, 20 engineers
    Base Damage: 5
    Critical Bonus: 10%
    Critical Damage: 7
    At first look it doesn't look much better than the Laser Rifle, but it actually
    has a +10 aim bonus as well which makes it quite nice. Due to the aim bonus, it
    is really good for training rookies. Thin Men use these so they are a great
    source to steal them from.
    Plasma Rifle
    Cost:  $200, 30 alloys, 20 elerium, 20 engineers
    Base Damage: 7
    Critical Bonus: 10%
    Critical Damage: 10
    The heaviest hitter for the rifles. Despite the cost you'll want to try to get
    these for your squad when you can, as you'll be facing tougher aliens that need
    big hits to take out. However I would reserve them for higher ranked soldiers,
    with better aim. Use Light Plasma Rifles for the rookies, to help their shots
    [5.2.3] Scatter Guns [5.2.3]
    With the assault you can not only use a rifle, but you can also use a scatter
    gun, more commonly called a shotgun. These have more limited range, meaning
    their accuracy drops off faster at range than a rifle, but they have a higher
    damage and crit chance. As such up close, they put the hurt down in a big way.
    Base Damage: 4
    Critical Bonus: 20%
    Critical Damage: 6
    Hits a bit harder than a rifle, but more limited range. For the base shotgun,
    its range is even more limited than the higher end scatter guns so you may wish
    to consider that when using it.
    Scatter Laser
    Cost:  $30, 25 alloys, 12 engineers
    Base Damage: 6
    Critical Bonus: 20%
    Critical Damage: 9
    A nice upgrade the only problem is the alloy cost, which may be difficult to
    deal with early on. You can always have your assault use a Laser Rifle until
    you have enough for one of these. Also it isn't as range limited as the
    standard shotgun, but still has quite a bit of accuracy falloff with distance.
    Alloy Cannon
    Cost:  $200, 50 alloys, 20 elerium, 25 engineers
    Base Damage: 9
    Critical Bonus: 20%
    Critical Damage: 13
    Just an amazing weapon for the up close and personal kind of assault player.
    With the Rapid Fire ability and Ghost Armor, it can drop nearly any enemy in
    one shot, no matter how tough so long as you are close to them.
    [5.2.4] Sniper Rifles [5.2.4]
    For snipies, they are the only weapon that will do. They feature very little
    drop off at range meaning that even an enemy quite far away viewed with Squad
    Sight is still something you can hit most of the time. However, they can only
    fire on the first round, you can't move and fire them (unless you take an
    ability to do so), so that does limit their usefulness in some situations.
    Also, their accuracy decreases if a baddie is too close in, so be mindful of
    shooting at things right next to you.
    Sniper Rifle
    Base Damage: 4
    Critical Bonus: 25%
    Critical Damage: 6
    Your basic sniper rifle. With a crit, which it has a decent chance of, it can
    even do a one shot kill on some of the intermediate aliens.
    Laser Sniper Rifle
    Cost:  $35, 25 alloys, 12 engineers
    Base Damage: 6
    Critical Bonus: 30%
    Critical Damage: 9
    A great upgrade since not only is its regular damage as high as the regular
    Sniper Rifle's crit, but it has a better crit chance too. A couple of these
    will make for a bad day for any Chryssalids trying to turn your assaults in to
    the main course at P.F. Chryssalid's Alien Bistro.
    Plasma Sniper Rifle
    Cost:  $250, 30 alloys, 25 elerium, 25 engineers
    Base Damage: 9
    Critical Bonus: 35%
    Critical Damage: 13
    Despite being the ultimate sniper rifle, this isn't something you need to rush
    to. Unfortunately it isn't powerful enough to one shot many of the toughest
    aliens, so the Laser Sniper Rifle continues to be ok. I'm not saying ignore it,
    just don't make it a big priority.
    [5.2.5] Heavy Weapons [5.2.5]
    The big guns that your heavy uses to lay down the hurt. Despite the name, they
    are not that much more damaging than your assault rifles. None the less they
    are useful, and are the only gun the heavy gets to have.
    Base Damage: 4
    Critical Bonus: 0%
    Critical Damage: 6
    Compared to the base Assault Rifle, it really isn't that great. It does a bit
    more base damage, but has no crit bonus, and the heavies are inaccurate so it
    isn't easy to hit with.
    Heavy Laser
    Cost:  $30, 25 alloys, 12 engineers
    Base Damage: 6
    Critical Bonus: 0%
    Critical Damage: 9
    A reasonable upgrade and you will probably have bullet swarm which means you
    can lay down a decent amount of hurt with this weapon
    Heavy Plasma
    Cost:  $250, 30 alloys, 30 elerium, 25 engineers
    Base Damage: 9
    Critical Bonus: 0%
    Critical Damage: 13
    Same damage as a Plasma Sniper Rifle, but without the crit chance. However,
    with Bullet Swarm and HEAT Ammo, you can lay down some major hurt on mechanical
    enemies with this, which is good because there are some rather powerful
    mechanical enemies. I'd get one of these for your heavies when you can. You can
    also steal them from some enemies later on.
    Rocket Launcher
    Base Damage: 6
    Critical Bonus: 0%
    Critical Damage: 12
    Instead of a pistol, your heavies get to carry one of these. It is a single
    shot (unless you get an ability) weapon that does a fairly large amount of AoE
    damage. In the start of the game, it'll one-shot pretty much anything you come
    up against. Later on, it is more useful for softening up enemies, or for
    destroying cover. It does a lot of damage to terrain/buildings/ships/etc and so
    is quite useful for exposing enemies, if you need to. It is also quite
    accurate, and it doesn't depend on range or cover. It does need line of sight
    though, or the rocket will slam in to things in the way.
    Blaster Launcher
    Cost:  $275, 50 alloys, 65 elerium, 1 fusion core, 2 UFO flight computers,
    35 engineers
    Base Damage: 9
    Critical Bonus: 0%
    Critical Damage: 13
    The rocket launcher's bigger brother. You need to shoot down and raid a
    battleship to get this so when you see it can vary. It not only does more
    damage, but can guide itself around obstacles and thus can hit what you aim at
    in most cases, regardless of what is around.
    Since this requires fusion cores to make, you have to raid battleships to get
    the materials. Each battleship has up to two fusion cores (if they don't get
    [5.3.0] Items [5.3.0]
    In addition to weapons and armor, each soldier gets to carry one additional
    item (or two for high rank supports). These can be real useful and be the
    difference between victory and defeat, so think carefully about what you want
    to take. They all have uses in different situations, and for different play
    Frag Grenade
    This is your starter item and you have an unlimited amount of them to equip.
    They let a soldier toss out a grenade once per round with an extremely high
    accuracy. Does 3 AoE damage and it DOES hit friendly units. It also can destroy
    some cover, though it isn't great at it. If you kill an enemy with a grenade,
    you don't get any weapon fragments, only their corpse, so consider your use of
    grenades carefully.
    Nano-Fiber Vest
    Prerequisites: Research Alien Materials
    Costs: $20, 5 engineers.
    This adds +2 HP to your soldier. It isn't armor, it stacks with armor. As such
    it can be useful in the beginning of the game when you are rocking standard
    Body Armor, particularly on higher difficulties when you have next to no HP.
    Since it just takes cash, you can outfit your squad as soon as you research it.
    Prerequisites: None
    Costs: $25, 5 engineers.
    Medkits are key to bringing soldiers home alive. They heal 4 damage to start
    with, can be upgraded to 6 in the Foundry, and can heal 10 on a Support
    Colonel. You should bring a couple with you on missions. In general, your
    support guys are the ones to give these too as they get great abilities to
    enhance them at higher ranks. However they can be used by anyone and are
    additionally useful in that they make you immune to the Thin Man's poison,
    which can be useful for shotgun assaults early on.
    Arc Thrower
    Prerequisites: Research Arc Thrower
    Costs: $35, 5 engineers.
    This will be a priority to research and build in the game, because the doctor
    wants a live alien to have a chat with. What it lets you do is stun an alien,
    rather than kill it. You can use it twice per mission and have to get fairly
    close to be able to stun. The stun range of an alien will be indicated with a
    blue circle with lightning bolts when a character with an Arc Thrower is
    selected. It has a 70% chance to hit a target with 3 HP. That goes down rapidly
    with HP over 3, and goes up with less HP. You can upgrade it in the Foundry to
    have a better hit chance, to be able to repair your SHIVs, and to be able to
    control enemy drones.
    It is usually good to bring at least one of these along, at least until you've
    interrogated all the aliens out there. Give it to whatever soldiers you like
    sending forward, usually assaults. Due to the chance to stun, it can be a good
    idea to have two soldiers go after a baddy at the same time, in case one stun
    Also note that when you stun an alien, you get to keep their gun, it doesn't
    blow up. So even once you've interrogated an alien, it can be useful to stun
    more to steal their weapons. Plasma Rifles stolen from Mutons are much cheaper
    than Plasma Rifles built in engineering.
    Prerequisites: Research Weapon Fragments
    Costs: $20, 5 engineers.
    As the name would imply, this increases a soldier's aim, by 10 to be precise.
    Early in the game this is quite useful and I'd give it thought if you don't
    have something else you need on that soldier as 10 aim is quite a bit. Late
    game it is still useful for training rookies up. You can upgrade it in the
    Foundry to have a crit bonus as well. When so upgraded, it is quite nice for
    snipers. I tend to leave it on my snipers even end game, since they hang back
    and thus don't tend to need other items.
    Chitin Plating
    Prerequisites: Autopsy a Chryssalid
    Costs: $85, 10 alloys, 4 Chryssalid corpses, 15 engineers.
    Turn those damn Chryssalids back against themselves! Chitin Plating adds 4 HP
    to a solder on top of their armor and also reduces melee damage by 50%. This
    makes Chryssalids and Muton Berserkers much less of a problem. It is a good
    late game item to put on any soldier that doesn't need something else in that
    slot. I quite often have my supports carry it as a second item, and generally
    have my assaults take it once I'm done capturing aliens.
    Alien Grenade
    Prerequisites: Steal it from a stunned Muton
    The Alien Grenade: Like your Frag Grenade but better! And Alien! Does 5 damage
    instead of 3 and does significantly more terrain damage. Unlike basically all
    other weapons, your soldiers can figure out how to use this without any
    research so when you get one, you can use it right away (it isn't consumed
    during missions). I guess triggers are too complex for them, but a grenade is
    no problem. If you need more you can do a Foundry project to upgrade your
    grenades to Alien Grenades, but give that you probably won't have many, if any,
    units using grenades I'd just appropriate them from Mutons as you need them.
    Combat Stims
    Prerequisites: Autopsy a Muton Berserker
    Costs: $50, 5 alloys, 1 Muton Berserker corpse, 15 engineers.
    Inject yourself with some pure Berserker goodness! When used (on the soldier
    who is carrying it only) it increases movement by 3, increases will, and gives
    you 50% damage immunity and complete crit immunity for two turns. This is real
    useful for a shotgun assault before going in on a tough enemy. Inject one
    round, then cloak and Run & Gun the next. You can put some hurt down at a long
    range, and generally live to tell the tale, even if there are other enemies
    around. You need to choose your use of it carefully, it is single use only per
    battle, but used right it can allow a soldier to be a hero and come out on the
    other side.
    Mind Shield
    Prerequisites: Autopsy an Etheral
    Costs: $150, 10 alloys, 30 elerium, 1 Etheral corpse, 35 engineers.
    Gives you 30 will. This is critical late game as Etherals just love using mind
    control, and other psionic nastiness, against your troops. With this, a high
    will troop should be ok against it most of the time. I like to give them to my
    assaults since they tend to scout forward, and thus are a likely MC target.
    Only problem is you have to kill 2 Etherals to get one (one to autopsy, one to
    build it). Have at least one soldier with this once you can, to use against
    Etherals and Secotid Commanders.
    [6.0.0] Missions [6.0.0]
    A good deal of your time in X-Com will be spent in missions, the actual turn
    based strategy part of the game. While all missions share the same general
    theme of "kill all the aliens" there are a number of varieties that you get at
    different times, in different ways.
    [6.1.0] Abduction Mission [6.1.0]
    These are the first thing you'll encounter in the game, and can be very
    annoying. The mission itself is pretty straight forward: You will be dropped in
    a city, country side, etc where the aliens have shown up and taken away some
    humans. You'll see various remains of people encased in green goop and web
    around on the ground. All you need to do is hunt down and kill all the aliens.
    There are no civilians to worry about, so anything that is moving that is not
    one of your units needs to be shot. Also any technology to be recovered is on
    the aliens themselves. As such collateral damage is of no concern. You can
    level a building and nobody minds.
    You can find any kind of alien on these missions however early on it is usually
    Sectoids, Thin Men, and maybe Floaters. Later you start seeing a whole spectrum
    of baddies, if they are still going on (which they shouldn't be).
    The reason abduction missions are annoying is that they occur in threes. The
    aliens will choose three countries and hit them at the same time and you can
    only deal with one. Panic will lower in the country you deal with, but panic
    will rise in the REGIONS you don't. So a steady string of abduction missions is
    a great way to lose the game.
    As such when choosing which abduction mission to deal with, don't only look at
    the reward, look at the panic levels in countries as well. If you have a
    mission happening in a region with a high panic country, you need to do that
    one, even if it isn't the reward you'd most like.
    So what to do about these in the long run? Build satellites. Abductions only
    happen in countries where there is no sat coverage. So blanketing the globe
    with sats is a priority. Once you have full coverage, abductions stop.
    [6.2.0] Crashed UFO [6.2.0]
    Any time you see a UFO flying around, you want to dispatch an interceptor with
    a giant swatter to knock it out of the sky. However, you aren't done when it is
    down, you need to go and clear it on the ground. These missions are set out in
    the wilderness, and of course feature a UFO. Depending on how bad the UFO was
    hit, there will be a various amount of fire and debris lying around, as well as
    pieces missing from the UFO itself. Again the objective is to kill all the
    There's no civilians so no worry there, but you do want to consider collateral
    damage to the UFO itself. You only get to bring back the pieces you don't blow
    up. So mind the shots at the power generators and so on, if you want to have
    those for your own use. Remember you can't build UFO parts in this game either,
    you must capture them.
    The UFOs can feature any baddie, which one depends on the stage of the game.
    However a special one you only see in UFOs is Outsiders, which you'll need to
    capture one of to advance the game. They only appear in early UFOs, once you've
    raided the alien base they are gone, replaced with Sectoid Commanders normally.
    You generally find some aliens milling around outside the UFO, some milling
    around inside, and some holed up in the command room. The aliens can be to the
    side of large UFOs so check there, don't just assume there's nothing. The
    command room normally has the most powerful aliens, and since they stay put, it
    is to your benefit to stack up your guys and get ready for a breaching action,
    rather than sending in just one soldier.
    How many aliens you face depends on the size of the UFO, and how many died in
    the crash. It can be as few as four and as many as 20 or more. When you have
    the Hyperwave Relay it'll tell you how many aliens are on a craft, as well as
    what kinds.
    [6.2.1] Landed UFO [6.2.1]
    Same deal as a crashed UFO, but you spotted this one on the ground. In this
    case the only difference is that there are more aliens, since none died, and
    the UFO is in perfect condition. They can be slightly harder than crashed UFOs,
    but usually not much. The only difference in tactics can be entry points.
    Crashed UFOs often have holes in the walls you can use to enter through, Landed
    UFOs don't. However, a rocket launcher will make a hole, if you wish :).
    [6.3.0] Terror Attack [6.3.0]
    This is what happens when the Chryssalids get hungry and want to chew on some
    humans. The aliens pick a major city and go about with the killin' and
    destroyin' of stuff. Here you have a dual objective of killing the aliens and
    saving the civilians. The game will show you a bar at the top that shows how
    many civilians are still in play, how many are saved, and how many have been
    killed. This means you need to check your fire, lest you blast a civilian on
    accident. Buildings can be leveled with no penalty, but beware of the civilians
    that might be in them.
    To save a civilian, you just run a soldier up next to them; they'll have a
    little circle indicating the area. When you do the civilian will suddenly stop
    doing their impersonation of a deer in the headlights and run off to safety,
    the aliens don't get to take pot shots at them. As such it is a good idea to do
    when feasible because it gets the civilians out of the way and they move in to
    the "saved" category.
    Don't worry about saving every civilian, you probably won't be able to, and you
    can still get an "excellent" rating in that category with a few dead. Heck
    you'll still get a "good" rating even with around half dead. However, save them
    when you can. Also, when the last alien dies, all the remaining civilians are
    automatically saved.
    You again see a mix of aliens, based on how advanced the game is, however
    Chryssalids make a common appearance here and are real problems since they
    infect civilians they kill. On higher difficulties, they'll do it off screen
    too. So they are top priority targets. Also Mutons seem to be fans of terror
    raids, and will often ignore your solders in favor of civilians.
    [6.4.0] Base Assault [6.4.0]
    Sooner rather than later, you are going to kick in the door to an alien base
    and serve them with a notice for violating their zoning ordinance. Wait, no, I
    mean kill them all and let their favored deity sort them out. Whatever :).
    This is an indoor mission and on the alien's turf. However for all that it
    isn't bad. Despite being indoors there are lots of open spaces, so you'll want
    to bring the snipies along. Also there's generally a whole lot of cover for
    your soldiers. Just advance slowly and you should be ok.
    If you do the mission fairly soon, with lower tech, you'll find Sectoids,
    Floaters, some Drones, and a few Chryssalids, as well as a Sectoid Commander at
    the end. If you wait and tech up a bunch, there can be Sectopods and Elite
    Mutons and all that jazz.
    No civilians here, but try not to blow up everything in the base, as you get to
    take a bunch of it back and it'll provide you with a much needed cash and
    resource infusion.
    [6.5.0] Council Missions [6.5.0]
    Periodically the spokesperson from the council, who seems to have a real fear
    of cameras, will contact you and give you a special mission to do. You get a
    reward for this, panic reduction, and it keeps the council happy. Also, they
    generally aren't all that bad. The only ones I've seen so far are "disarm the
    bomb" and "protect the VIP" which sometimes requires locating the VIP, or
    sometimes has the VIP start with you. In either case, Thin Men seem to be the
    unit of choice for these, even later game. These missions are heavily scripted
    and feature dialogue.
    Justin also let me know about another type, "asset recovery" where you just
    have to go and kill aliens, nothing else.
    [6.5.1] Bomb Disposal [6.5.1]
    Here you just have to find and disarm the bomb; however there are a limited
    number of turns. There are also nodes all over the map, and activating one of
    those will increase the countdown by one turn. You need to get next to the
    nodes, or the bomb, and then click on it to use it. Once you disarm the bomb,
    some reinforcements will come to try and rearm it. Kill off all the remaining
    aliens and the mission is done.
    More or less just run from node to node, disarming them and using them for
    cover, and then when you find the bomb get your guys near it and shut it down.
    Deal with the Thin Men who drop in and call it a day.
    [6.5.2] VIP Protection [6.5.2]
    Here the mission is to keep one person alive, and get them to the Skyranger.
    The good news is that you get control of them, so you can make them take cover,
    hunker down, and so on. In some cases you need to go find them first, blasting
    aliens as you go along; in others they start in the middle of your squad.
    Either way keep them back and safe and blast any aliens around them. If you
    have to find them, more aliens will drop in once you have gotten the VIP. Once
    you have them within dash range of the Skyranger, just have them dash to the
    exit, as soon as they make it the mission is complete.
    [6.5.3] Asset Recovery [6.5.3]
    The "gimme" version of a council mission. While they take about needing to
    secure assets, what they mean by that is just "Kill all the aliens." No
    civilians, no bombs, no big deal. Sectoids seem to be the units here often or
    maybe Mutons if you get one late game, it is just free money and panic
    reduction with little effort. Perhaps because of that, they aren't all that
    [7.0.0] Aliens [7.0.0]
    There are a bunch of different kinds of critters you'll meet in missions in
    X-Com, all of them nasty, but some more than others and in different ways.
    Knowing how to deal with various aliens is key to doing well. For Alien stats I
    will list them in the form of Easy/Normal/Classic/Impossible difficulty, as it
    varies with level.
    [7.1.0] Sectoid [7.1.0]
    HP: 3/3/3/4
    Aim: 65/65/65/75
    Will: 10
    Defense: 0
    Weapon: Plasma Pistol
    These are the iconic X-Com aliens and the first things you'll face. They are
    not very strong, one blast from an Assault Rifle should punch their ticket on
    anything but Impossible. They mostly just shoot at you, but can also use an
    ability called Mind Merge. Here one Sectoid shoots a purple stream at another
    and gives it +1 HP and better accuracy and crit. However, if you kill the
    Sectoid doing the merge, both die.
    [7.2.0] Thin Man [7.2.0]
    HP: 3/3/4/6
    Aim: 65/65/75/75
    Will: 15
    Defense: 0
    Weapon: Light Plasma Rifle
    These little pests seem to think they are acrobats rather than aliens. They
    like to jump all around and can hop up on vehicles, buildings, and so on. On
    easy and normal they have a damage nerf so they do around the same damage as a
    Sectoid. However what makes them more annoying is they can spit a poison cloud
    at a soldier, and also explode in to one when they die. This does damage every
    turn until cured with a medkit. Also note their effective aim is higher than
    listed, since the Light Plasma Rifle gives a bonus.
    Due to their low will and HP, they are easy to pop with a Mindfray later on. It
    will usually have a 100% chance to hit and is one shot except on Impossible.
    [7.3.0] Outsider [7.3.0]
    HP: 3/3/5/5
    Aim: 70/70/80/90
    Will: 20
    Defense: 0/0/10/10
    Weapon: Light Plasma Rifle
    These funny looking aliens show up, literally out of thin air, in early UFOs.
    They aren't particularly difficult, though they are fairly accurate,
    particularly with their weapon bonus. You need to capture one to get in to the
    alien base. After the alien base, they don't show up anymore.
    [7.4.0] Floater [7.4.0]
    HP: 4/4/4/6
    Aim: 50/50/60/60
    Will: 10
    Defense: 0
    Weapon: Light Plasma Rifle
    As the name implies, these guys float around. They move quickly and since they
    are flying always have defense of at least partial cover, even in the open. The
    thing to be careful is flanking, not only can they move around you fast but
    they can launch themselves up off the screen and land on any tile they wish. So
    they can hop back by your snipers and surprise them. This isn't too big a
    threat on lower difficulties, but still something to be mindful of.
    [7.5.0] Heavy Floater [7.5.0]
    HP: 12/12/14/16
    Aim: 70/70/80/80
    Will: 25
    Defense: 10
    Weapon: Plasma Rifle
    Same deal as a floater, but a bigger pain in the butt. They carry a heavier
    hitting plasma rifle, and have extra aim so their effective aim is the same.
    However they have a ton more health and are thus much harder to take out. They
    tend to replace floaters late game.
    [7.6.0] Muton [7.6.0]
    HP: 8/8/10/10
    Aim: 70/70/80/80
    Will: 10
    Defense: 10
    Weapon: Plasma Rifle
    Redefining the terms "big and ugly". You'll meet these guys after floaters and
    they can be quite a pain in the butt. In addition to their health, they also
    have inherent defense similar to Skeleton Armor and so are harder to hit. When
    you do hit them, they will often use Intimidate on the soldier that shot them.
    If your soldier fails a will check, they will panic, though sometimes this
    causes them to shoot the Muton which is pretty damn funny. Also they can use an
    ability called Blood Call which buffs themselves and other Mutons. Finally,
    they have Alien Grenades which they can toss, with great accuracy, at your
    troops. So you want to keep a bit spread out, lest you get grenaded. They are
    quite weak to psionics though, which is nice.
    [7.7.0] Muton Berserker [7.7.0]
    HP: 20/20/20/25
    Aim: N/A
    Will: 80
    Defense: 20
    Weapon: Fists
    This was the Muton who kept trying eat his gun in "Mutons l2plasmarifle 101"
    class so they took it away. Instead, he just rushes up and tries to punch you.
    That does a LOT of damage though, so they are quite dangerous. Also any time
    you shoot one, it'll get a free small move towards the unit that shot it. You
    can exploit this, by shooting at one with people on alternating sides. They can
    also Bull Rush through some cover and get all punchy on someone, so you want to
    kill them at range. If you are going to get up close, Chitin Plating works
    wonders to mitigate the damage. They usually show up with two regular Mutons.
    [7.8.0] Muton Elite [7.8.0]
    HP: 14/14/14/18
    Aim: 80/80/90/100
    Will: 20
    Defense: 20/20/30/30
    Weapon: Heavy Plasma
    A very nasty late game variant of the Muton. Not only do they have more HP,
    they also have higher inherent defense, the same as Ghost Armor, and they carry
    a Heavy Plasma. Unlike your heavies, these guys actually know how to aim too,
    particularly on higher difficulties. Due to their weak will, nailing them with
    a Mindfray can be a good idea. You can also try mind controlling them, if you
    want, they make excellent red shirts.
    [7.9.0] Chryssalid [7.9.0]
    HP: 8/8/8/8
    Aim: N/A
    Will: 120
    Defense: 10
    Weapon: Fangs n' Claws
    These little pricks are some of the most annoying enemies in the game. They
    like to rush up to your soldiers or to civilians and chew on them, and their
    melee attacks are not only powerful but also can poison you. However the real
    problem is what they kill someone: They then implant the corpse which rises as
    a Zombie, and that then turns in to a Chryssalid in a couple turns. On terror
    missions these guys can over run the map by noming on civilians. They are
    priority targets. If they get near one of your soldiers and you aren't sure you
    can kill it, run, since if they kill you, there will now be two of them.
    [7.10.0] Zombie [7.10.0]
    HP: 10/10/10/14
    Aim: N/A
    Will: 120
    Defense: 0
    Weapon: Fists and teeth
    This is what Chryssalids make. They'll move around slowly and aren't a big
    threat, but burst in to a new Chryssalid in short order. Take them down quick.
    [7.11.0] Drone [7.11.0]
    HP: 3/3/5/7
    Aim: 60/60/70/70
    Will: N/A
    Defense: 10
    Weapon: Drone Beam
    These little things are normally found in pairs, floating along with a
    Cyberdisc or a Sectopod. They are not powerful and their Drone Beam doesn't do
    much damage, however they are problematic because they will heal the disc/pod
    if it takes damage. With an upgraded Arc Thrower, you can control one of them
    and use it as an expendable scout.
    [7.12.0] Cyberdisc [7.12.0]
    HP: 16/16/20/20
    Aim: 70/70/80/80
    Will: N/A
    Defense: 10
    Weapon: Plasma Barrage, Death Blossom, Alien Grenade
    Not so little flying wheels of death. These things are quite tough, and can
    deal out a lot of damage. Their normal attack is a barrage of plasma bolts
    which hit hard and do a good bit of damage to cover. However they can also toss
    a grenade at a group of soldiers, or just get up close and do a PBAoE attack
    called Death Blossom. Oh, and they also explode when you kill them, dealing
    damage to everyone around them. They seem to favor getting up close to troops
    and shooting them point blank, but they aren't averse to ranged combat either.
    When they are folded up in their disc form, they have a decent amount of
    inherent defense, so they are basically always in cover in terms of to hit.
    When they unfold to attack, they have less defense, but of course start spewing
    hot death at your troops. You want to engage these from range, when possible,
    since they are nasty up close and the explosion on death can take a soldier
    over the edge and kill them if they are wounded.
    [7.13.0] Sectopod [7.13.0]
    HP: 30/30/30/30
    Aim: 80/80/90/90
    Will: N/A
    Defense: 30
    Weapon: Chest Beam, Plasma Beam, Cluster Bomb
    ED-209 lives! :) These are the biggest, baddest, robots you'll face and man are
    they a handful. They have the most hitpoints of anything in the game, and can
    do massive damage in a number of ways. They can fire a beam from their chest
    that does large single target damage at range. Also, they have an additional
    plasma beam attack that they get to do as a reaction shot, even when not in
    overwatch. So you might think you cower at range and shoot at them, nope, then
    they'll go and launch a cluster bomb mortar attack at a group of your guys.
    The best counter to these is a heavy with HEAT Ammo. Two blasts of that will be
    near enough to kill them, even without a crit. However they are kind of hard to
    hit, having 30 inherent defense and so always being a bit better than in
    partial cover. Another option is an assault that runs in with an Alloy Cannon
    and downs a double shot at point blank range.
    Regardless, these things are a massive threat, and their accompanying drones
    will try to repair them. It is going to take focused fire from multiple
    soldiers to take them down in most cases. They should be a very high priority
    target, due to the massive damage they can dish out.
    [7.14.0] Sectoid Commander [7.14.0]
    HP: 10/10/14/14
    Aim: 85/85/95/95
    Will: 90
    Defense: 20
    Weapon: Plasma Rifle
    Like a Sectoid, but more powerful and annoying. In addition to their higher HP,
    better aim, and better weapon, they also have 20 inherent defense just like
    Ghost Armor, meaning they are harder to hit. However their real nasty ability
    is Mind Control. As it sounds, it lets them take control of one of your troops.
    When you first meet them, none of your troops are likely to be able to resist
    it ever. 
    As such they are extremely high priority targets; otherwise you often face the
    situation of killing one of your own soldiers, or being killed by that soldier.
    If a soldier does get controlled, you need to kill the Commander that is
    controlling them ASAP. You may wish to send SHIVs against them as they cannot
    be mind controlled, and then blast them with snipers from afar. They can also
    do the Mind Merge that regular Sectoids can, but can do it on normal Sectoids
    as well.
    [7.15.0] Ethereal [7.15.0]
    HP: 20/20/20/25
    Aim: 100/100/110/110
    Will: 120/120/145/155
    Defense: 40
    Weapon: Psionics
    These guys are a massive pain. Despite the doctor describing them as
    "physically weak" they have some of the highest hitpoints you'll encounter.
    They also have 40 inherent defense and so are effectively in full cover, even
    when standing in the open. On top of that, they have a 60% crit reduction,
    meaning you'll rarely crit them outside of using cloak. Oh, and did I mention
    they can pull the Jedi trick of reflecting shots? Ya they do that too.
    Their attacks are psionic, and thus something armor and cover does nothing to
    help with. They can use Mindfray, just like your guys, they can Mind Control
    and are very good at it (usually the first thing they do), they can do
    something called Psi Lance which does more damage to low will targets, and they
    can use Psi Drain to drain 5 hit points from a friendly target, which can be,
    and often is, a soldier they've mind controlled. On top of all that they can
    use an ability called Rift, which does some serious AoE psionic damage.
    Definitely a high priority target. Due to the inherant defense, you'll often
    need to flank them and get up close to have a reasonable chance of hitting
    them. Shotgun assaults with cloak can work wonders here. Psionic attacks are
    nearly useless against them due to their extremely high will. If you can mind
    control a Muton Elite, they can make a nice meat shield to send against the
    Etheral while your snipers blast it. Careful getting too close though, they
    explode on death.
    [7.16.0] Uber Ethereal [7.16.0]
    HP: 25/25/25/30
    Aim 120/120/130/130
    Will: 150/150/150/160
    Defense: 40/40/40/50
    Weapon: Psionics
    Because a regular Etheral wasn't bad enough. Same as the regular Ethereal but
    more... Uber. More HP, even higher will, more chance to go Jedi on shots. This
    is as nasty as it gets in X-Com, which is a good thing, because this guy is
    exceedingly tough. Every game needs a big baddie, and this one is X-Com's. This
    is the final boss.
    [8.0.0] Battle Tactics [8.0.0]
    While the strategic decisions you make regarding who to give satellites to, how
    to spend your money, and what mission to take are very important, the game is
    ultimately won and lost on the tactical battle map. This is also where player
    skill and strategy play the biggest role. Competent strategy can pull a win
    with no losses, even with soldiers that don't have great equipment or high
    rank. On the flip side, reckless tactics can get even a good squad killed.
    Failing missions is a big problem too. When you fail not only does it cost you
    time and money in terms of units, but panic increases and so on. To do any good
    with regards to panic, the mission needs to succeed. Needless to say you also
    don't get any rewards from the council for failures.
    X-Com is a Turn Based Strategy so you have as much time as you need to work out
    your moves. It is like Chess where well thought out moves are what wins the
    game, not a blitz. Take your time, consider your options.
    [8.1.0] Understanding Cover [8.1.0]
    Probably the sole most important thing to not being turned in to a puddle of
    goo is to understand the cover system. Like many modern games, X-Com is all
    about cover, however being a strategic game it is not just arbitrary, there is
    math behind all of it. The basic rule is "always be in cover," however there's
    more to it than that.
    When you are looking at moving around, you will notice there are shields, half
    and completely full, next to some tiles. This means you get cover when you park
    your soldier next to the tile. You always want to be next to a cover tile,
    except for some very special situations. How full the shield is indicates the
    quality of cover. Half full is partial cover and grants 20 defense, completely
    full is full cover and grants 40 defense. The amount of defense you have is
    subtracted from the enemy's chance to hit, hence why cover is so vital.
    For example say you are up against a Sectoid, who has a 65% chance to hit you.
    If you are out in the open, that's how often you'll get hit: every other shot
    or more. However suppose you are now in full cover: that reduces its chance to
    hit down to 25%. It'll tag you one in four times if it is lucky. So you would
    take less than half the damage, over the long run, being in full cover (and
    hopefully kill the Sectoid before it could hit at all).
    Cover works the same way for aliens as it does for you. The better cover they
    are in, the harder they are to hit. You can see a shield next to them, and your
    soldiers, indicating their cover status. It is red for aliens, and blue for
    you. This can help you prioritize targets: if you have two equal threat
    targets, one in half cover and one in full cover, the half cover target is
    probably the better one to go after first as it will be easier to hit.
    However that's not all there is to it. You will notice the shields face in one
    of the four cardinal directions. This is because cover is directional. When you
    are covered behind something it provides cover in about a 180 degree arc in
    that direction. However, if an alien moves beside or behind that, they've
    flanked you, and your cover isn't useful anymore. You'll see the shield change
    yellow to indicate a flanked unit (be it you or the enemy).
    The game also indicates flanked squares by having their shields in red, rather
    than blue. What this means is if you choose to move your soldier there, they
    will be flanked and thus the cover not useful. So just because a tile has
    cover, doesn't mean the cover is useful. If there's an enemy flanking that
    position, it isn't going to do you any good against that enemy.
    Flanking is something to use to your advantage. When you have a chance to move
    a soldier in to a flanking position on an enemy, it is generally a good option.
    You'll have a much better chance to hit, and even if you don't kill the enemy,
    it'll likely choose to relocate, rather than retaliate. Flanking is something
    the assault class is particularly good at with Run & Gun. You can run up and
    blast an enemy from the side, often taking out entrenched enemies.
    [8.2.0] There's More to Defense Than Cover [8.2.0]
    Despite the importance of cover, it isn't all there is to defense. Various
    armors and aliens have inherent defense as well. This is added to any cover
    before the final defense is calculated. So if you have Ghost Armor, it has 20
    inherent defense meaning you have a much defense standing in the open as
    regular armor does in cover. If full cover, it would give you a total of 60
    defense, making you really hard to hit. Same deal with some aliens, Etherals
    have 40 defense as an example hence they are in "full cover" even when standing
    in the open, which is why they are so hard to hit.
    This can influence your armor choice, as well as what enemies to target. A
    Sectopod in the open is actually the same to hit as a Muton in partial cover,
    since the Muton has 10 defense and the Sectopod has 30.
    Another defensive tool is the Hunker Down command. This causes the soldier to
    hit the dirt and do nothing but defend. While they can't take an action, it
    does double their cover and thus in full cover, gives an 80% reduction to enemy
    aim. On lower difficulties, this means few enemies will be able to hit you at
    all, and then only rarely. It can be useful for surviving in a very hostile
    [8.3.0] Range Matters [8.3.0]
    Another factor in chance to hit is the range to target. The closer you are, the
    higher your chance to hit and the same is true for enemies. So if you are
    firing at an enemy from a long distance, you will both have a lesser chance to
    hit. If you get up close and personal, the chance increases and can easily hit
    100% in flanking cases. So you want to consider range both in terms of
    increasing your chances to hit, when needed, and decreasing the enemy's chances
    to hit, when needed.
    A big factor in this is weapon type. Different weapons have different aim
    penalties at range. Sniper rifles have essentially zero penalty. They can shoot
    a target at any range and still have a high chance to hit, hence when using
    Squad Sight a sniper can peg a target half way across the map from them with
    high accuracy. Assault rifles and heavy weapons have some range falloff, but it
    isn't too bad. They can only function in the visual range of the unit, of
    course, and they are less accurate at longer ranges, but still have a
    reasonable chance to it. Scatter guns, however, are very range dependent. Their
    chance to hit falls off quickly with range. So if you use a shotgun assault,
    you'll need to get up close to the enemies to have a reasonable chance of
    Also while it doesn't apply to your soldiers, the aliens have melee units and
    for them, the only range that works is right next to a soldier. Against them,
    cover isn't any use since they don't have a chance to hit: They either hit you
    if they are next to you or don't if they aren't. With them, you have to back
    off out of their range to be safe.
    [8.4.0] Line of Sight Matters More [8.4.0]
    While range and cover are important to chance to hit, Line of Sight is the
    be-all, end-all. If you don't have LOS to a target, you can't fire on it at
    all, period. This has both offensive and defensive implications. If a soldier
    is wounded and in trouble, it is far better to move them to a location where
    the enemy cannot see them, and thus not attack them, than to just hunker down
    and hope for the best. This isn't always possible, of course, but it is the
    kind of thing to be aware of. Retreating around a corner can be far more
    effective at preventing incoming fire than any amount of defense.
    Likewise you must position your soldiers such that they can see the enemies
    before they can shoot them. For everyone but snipers this means not only having
    a clear view to the enemy, but being in range. With snipers, Squad Sight lets
    them shoot at any enemy anyone sees, but they still need LOS to the target. So
    don't think you can park a sniper inside a hidey hole and still blast any
    On many maps, this means you need to reposition your snipers as you advance, so
    that they can cover the advancing forces. If you are going around a building,
    the sniper is going to need to go around as well, if they are to provide
    covering fire down that street.
    You cannot hit what you cannot see, and that can be used against you or to your
    [8.5.0] Overwatch and Reaction Shots [8.5.0]
    Another important concept is that of the reaction shot. This is a shot that a
    unit gets to take during the enemy turn, rather than their own. Both your
    soldiers and the aliens can do this. The idea is they watch for movement (or a
    shot in special cases) and then open fire in response. This lets you get shots
    in on enemies as they come in to view.
    As such, you pretty much want to have your troops on Overwatch any time they
    don't have something else to do. If there are no enemies on screen, set your
    troops on Overwatch to end the turn. Then, if enemies come at you during their
    turn, you'll take shots at them and hopefully kill one or two of them. Having
    troops on Overwatch is quite critical to mission success, particularly on
    higher difficulties. It can be the difference between having to take on a full
    group on enemies, or having one dead and a couple injured.
    The downside of a reaction shot is that a soldier's accuracy is decreased, and
    the shot can't crit. As such you don't want to take reaction shots instead of
    normal shots, if you have a reasonable normal shot. You don't just go "all
    Overwatch all the time." It is the kind of thing you use when you have a
    soldier in a position that they do not have a shot on any aliens, to make them
    ready if aliens come sneaking up. That way if an alien runs in to try and flank
    them, they get to take a clear shot at it.
    Snipers in particular can be lethal with reaction shots because with Squad
    Sight and Opportunist they can take a shot at any alien that any soldier sees,
    with no aim penalty, and it can crit. Since reaction shots often happen to
    units moving outside of cover, this can quite often lead to a big hit. If you
    have a sniper with both abilities and Archangel Armor, having them fly up and
    stay on Overwatch can be an excellent way to drop incoming aliens as soon as
    they appear.
    Aliens get to go in to Overwatch too, which means you need to be careful about
    running around with reckless abandon. They can and will take shots at you. If
    you have vision to the alien when it goes in to Overwatch, the game will show
    you that they have. At that point, if you move any soldier in their range of
    sight, they get to take a free shot. The counter to this is the Lightning
    Reflexes ability for the assault class. It forces the first reaction shot to
    miss, no matter what. Doesn't matter how good the chance to hit is, the first
    one misses. So you can draw out the shot while you rush in, or just dash
    laterally to draw the shot to allow another class to move.
    Overwatch isn't the only way to get reaction shots, some units get to have
    reaction shots even without it. In particular the assault class has an ability
    to take a reaction shot at any enemy that makes a move within 4 squares of
    them, without being in Overwatch (they can still be in Overwatch and get
    another shot with that too). Also Sectopods have a reaction shot ability that
    does not require Overwatch.
    [8.6.0] Scouting and Free Enemy Moves [8.6.0]
    When you first come an enemy group, no matter if they moved in to your view or
    you moved to theirs, they get to have a free move. The game will play a little
    reaction cutscene and the aliens will scatter for cover, rush you, etc,
    depending on what class they are. What this means is that under normal
    circumstances, you can't get the drop on the aliens. They get to free move in
    to cover and get ready. You can still take reaction shots at them, which is a
    big reason why you have guys on Overwatch all the time, but you can't catch
    them out in the open...
    ...that is unless you use a Battle Scanner, or Ghost Armor. In both cases, you
    do not alert the aliens to your presence and as such they do not get their free
    reaction move. This can be used to great effect in various situations. You can
    sneak in to an area, line up some guys behind likely alien cover and go to
    town. Snipers can fire on aliens revealed through either method, if they have
    squad sight. Once you do fire, the aliens will get their free reaction move,
    but of course they can't see cloaked soldiers so if you have soldiers cloaked
    behind cover they may well cover right next to that soldier.
    However you aren't going to be able to do cloaked scouting all the time, which
    in general means you need to move up carefully, and be able to move additional
    soldiers in to an area to support if your reveal enemies. If you dash forward,
    the enemies will get a free move to cover, and then during their turn be free
    to open fire on your troops.
    [8.7.0] Choosing Your Shots [8.7.0]
    Part of doing well is trying to decide which soldier to use to fire on a given
    enemy. Don't just fire with the first soldier the game happens to select for
    you. Look around at your other troops. See who has a shot on what, and what
    their chances are. For example suppose you have two soldiers who can see
    enemies. Soldier A can see enemy 1 and 2, Soldier B can only see enemy 1. Have
    Soldier B take the first shot and see what happens. If they kill enemy 1,
    Soldier A is now free to fire on enemy 2. If not, you can then consider which
    target Soldier A should try for.
    Another example: Suppose a soldier can see an enemy, but only has a 20% chance
    to hit. That isn't very good and probably isn't worth taking. However look back
    at your snipers, can one of them see the enemy, and perhaps with a better shot?
    Is there another soldier who can also see the enemy, but can move to flanking
    Basically before you take a shot, evaluate what all your options are. Find out
    which soldiers have shots on what aliens and how good those shots are. Decide
    which targets you want to prioritize and then take shots to maximize the damage
    you do. If you just have the first soldier that comes up shoot, you can easily
    have a situation where only one or two guys take a shot and everyone else has
    nothing, whereas if you plan shots you can have your entire squad lay down the
    There are no bonus points for speed, plan your assault carefully and don't
    forget your snipers with their Squad Sight.
    There is one other thing to consider with regards to shots and that is kill
    shots and their influence on rank. Near as I can tell, only kill shots award
    any experience. So, if you want to rank a soldier up, they need to drop
    enemies. This means you need to work on letting them take shots they can make
    and that will do the damage needed to finish the job. For example say you are
    up against a Muton Elite. You've got a lower ranked soldier with a Plasma Rifle
    you'd like to rank up that has a good shot on it. Well, that won't do the
    trick, it'll damage it but that's all, even with a crit. So look around, maybe
    a sniper has Squad Sight to it. If so, have the sniper open up and damage it,
    and the newbie finish the job.
    [8.8.0] Suppression [8.8.0]
    Yet another aspect to successful combat is making use of the suppression
    ability, and knowing how to deal with getting suppressed yourself. Both heavies
    and supports can learn to suppress and you always want one or two guys along
    that know how to do it.
    With suppression you don't actually attack an enemy, you just fire a bunch of
    rounds at them to make them keep their head down. This uses two shots worth of
    ammo and the net effect is the enemy has -30 to aim and your soldier gets to
    take a free reaction shot at said enemy if they move before the suppression has
    ended. This usually means the alien will choose to stay put.
    As such suppression is useful in trying to make an alien stay put while someone
    sneaks up on it with an Arc Thrower. The alien can't run, without getting shot
    at, and thus will often opt to sit tight where it is.
    However the more important use of suppression is dealing with tough enemies who
    have high percentages to hit. For example a Sectopod has a 90% chance to hit on
    Classic and above, meaning that even in full cover it is likely to hit you 50%
    of the time, and then for large amounts of damage. In partial cover it is 75%
    likely to hit. However if you suppress it, you can knock that down a lot,
    making it only 45% to hit in partial and 20% in full cover.
    Of course the enemies can and will suppress your soldiers too. So what to do
    about it? Well in general, sit tight; don't run as it will provoke a reaction
    shot. You could choose to provoke it on purpose if an assault with Lighting
    Reflexes is being suppressed, but in general just wait. Have your other
    soldiers fire on the alien doing the suppressing. If you hit it, it should
    stop. Then the suppressed soldier can do as you wish. You can fire back with
    the suppressed soldier, without provoking a reaction, but given their very low
    chance to hit it isn't a good idea. Try and have someone else deal with the
    suppression first, then have them take their shot.
    [8.9.0] Medkits [8.9.0]
    A key to doing well in the long run is having and using Medkits for your
    soldiers. The obvious reason is that it can keep them from dying, and thus you
    from having to train up new rookies. However late game they get even more
    valuable for two reasons:
    1) Stabilizing or reviving critically injured soldiers. When a soldier is
    dropped to zero health, they don't always die, sometimes they are just
    critically injured. In this case, you need to stabilize them with a medkit, or
    they'll bleed out. Also, there is a support perk that allows you to revive them
    at 33% health, rather than just stabilize them. If things go really bad and a
    valued veteran gets shot, this may be what you need to bring them back to fight
    another day. Also there is an ability in the OTS you can buy that make it more
    likely for high rank soldiers to be critically injured, rather than killed, but
    that does no good without medkits on hand.
    2) Reduced or eliminated recovery time. The reason is the way the game
    calculates wounds and hitpoints. Your total HPs are your soldier's inherent HP
    + their armor's HP. However all damage hits the armor's addon HP first. If they
    never take enough damage to reach their own HP, then there's no recovery time
    needed. Thing is, medkits heal all HP equally.
    So suppose a soldier has 7 native HP, and is wearing Ghost Armor for another 6,
    13 total. They then get shot for 6 points, you heal them, and they get shot
    later for 6 more points. You might think the healing wasn't really needed;
    after all they lived, right? Well in addition to making sure a crit didn't kill
    them it actually drastically changes recovery time. In the first example, with
    healing, the soldier's own HP was never touched, so they aren't injured and
    thus no downtime. In the second example they will be gravely wounded, and
    require a long time to recover, because they were nearly killed.
    Thus in general, you want to heal your soldiers as they take damage. You want
    to be smart about it, of course, don't waste medkits on a tiny wound, but if a
    soldier has taken a wound near to what your medkit can currently heal for, then
    hit them with it and heal them up. Doing so can keep your whole squad in
    operation, despite taking some damage on a mission once you have better armor.
    [8.10.0] Stealth [8.10.0]
    Ghost Armor is quite powerful, not just because of its hit point and defense
    bonus but because it allows your soldiers to cloak themselves four times per
    battle, and remain cloaked either through the enemy turn, or until they fire.
    Cloak is a free action; you still get to use two full actions after it. This
    bring a whole new element to your tactics as you can now move around enemies
    unseen to launch true surprise attacks, where they don't get their reaction
    Stealth is particularly useful in door breaching situations. You can cloak two
    guys on either side of the door, and then open it. That lets you see what's in
    the room with no reaction, and you can even withdraw if needed. You can then
    place your guys behind enemy cover, and have two others move up and fire at the
    enemies from the doorway, then launch a finishing attack from flanking
    positions with your cloaked soldiers.
    However it gets better still: Cloaked soldiers ALWAYS have 100% chance to crit.
    Yes, even against Etherals. This means that cloak can be used not only for
    stealth attacks, but just to amp up a regular attack. Heavies in particular can
    benefit due to their low crit chance. If you have a good shot, you can cloak,
    then fire, and do guaranteed critical damage.
    It is particularly lethal in the hands of a shotgun assault with Rapid Fire.
    You can cloak, flank your target and get up close, and then unload on them with
    a guaranteed critical hit. Likewise Killer Instinct goes from a good ability to
    a godly one since you can guarantee a crit with the higher damage, simply by
    cloaking before you use Run & Gun.
    [8.11.0] Psionics [8.11.0]
    Later in the game you'll get psionic abilities for soldiers, and if you are
    patient enough to sift through people you can have an entire squad with it.
    While psionics will never become your primary abilities, they are quite useful
    in the right situations.
    Mindfray is something to look at when you don't have a good shot on an enemy.
    If the enemy has a weak will your chance to hit with Mindfray will be quite
    high, even 100%, and isn't attenuated by distance or cover. While it only does
    5 damage it also lowers their will, aim, and mobility making them all around
    less of a threat. If you choice is a 20% normal shot or a 98% Mindfray, launch
    the Mindfray.
    Psi Inspiration has the triple use of removing Mindfray, helping deal with
    panic, and boosting will for other psionic attacks. Use it to clear off
    Mindfray any time someone gets hit, or to calm a rookie down that got scared of
    a Muton. Also if you are going for a tough Mind Control, try and have another
    soldier use Inspiration first to boot will to help it succeed.
    Telekinetic Field is an ability to keep around for when everything goes to
    hell. If you have some soldiers trapped in a bad situation, see if you can get
    someone near them to launch a Telekinetic Field, it gives 40 defense, the same
    as full cover. If you are going to need to cover some enemies too, just wait
    until the last move of the turn. Launch the field, then end the turn. The
    enemies will have a penalty to hit your soldiers, but it'll dissipate when your
    next turn starts.
    Mind Control can be useful, mostly for creating red shirts, aka troops you are
    willing to throw away. When you MC an enemy, you want to take it and rush the
    other aliens. Don't try and hold it back and use it as another troop, because
    in 4 rounds, the MC breaks and it will not be pleased with you. Run them ahead
    to scout, or straight up to flank their friends. If they die, all the better.
    Just make sure it isn't near your squad when the timer runs out so it has to
    actually come back and can't just turn around and take a shot where it is. Also
    if you aren't going to get it kill, have it blow any one use abilities like
    grenades. Better yet, have it drop the grenade at its feet.
    [9.0.0] Interception [9.0.0]
    The tactical battles aren't the only part of killing aliens in X-Com, sometimes
    you need to shoot down their UFOs too. For that, there's a very abbreviated
    mini-game on the geomap you deal with. There's not a whole lot to interception
    in this version of X-Com, but it still warrants your thought and attention.
    [9.1.0] The Basics [9.1.0]
    When you detect a UFO in the air, which can only happen in countries you have
    sats in, the game will ask you if you'd like to deal with it or ignore it.
    Don't ignore it unless you just flat out don't have the craft to deal with it.
    Panic goes up a good bit if you do. When you choose to deal with it, it'll ask
    you which interceptor you'd like to launch. You can only launch one at a time.
    It'll show you all the craft you have in the region (there can be up to four).
    That craft will then launch to intercept and the interception interface comes
    Your choices then are to order the craft to abort, or to use any of the special
    one-use items you've crafted, if you have any. In general, you want to keep
    your finger on the abort button and if the interceptor is near death, call it
    back. You can then send out another one to finish the job. For this reason, I'd
    keep at least two interceptors in all regions you have coverage in.
    [9.2.0] Types of Interceptors [9.2.0]
    There are only two interceptors in X-Com:
    Cost: $40, $20/month.
    These are what you start with, and you can buy as many more of them as you want
    at any time. They take 3 days to get delivered. They aren't great, but against
    many UFO's they'll do the trick particularly if you use boosters or if you
    recall one as it is damaged and send out another. Upgrading their weapons can
    help a whole lot. For much of the game, you'll have to make do with them.
    Callsign Raven in game.
    Cost: $200, 40 alloys, 20 elerium, 1 UFO Power Source, 2 UFO Flight Computer,
    20 engineers, $10/month.
    A much, much upgraded interceptor. Its biggest feature it its speed, which
    means it can stay in range of UFOs longer, allowing it to successfully shoot
    down the faster UFOs. Also it has a ton more armor, so it can go toe to toe
    with almost any UFO. It also can equip the most powerful weapon, the Fusion
    Lance. When so equipped, it can solo any alien ship except the battleship,
    without aid.
    You'll need one of these to take down the overseer UFO. It is just too fast for
    Ravens. In general, getting at least one per region is a good idea, despite the
    expense. Do note that when you build them, you need free hangar space for
    however many you are building in your main base. Don't clear out all 4 slots
    and try to build 4 at once, that is just asking for trouble.
    Callsign Demon in game.
    [9.3.0] Consumables [9.3.0]
    To help give your interceptors the edge, you can make consumables that perform
    various functions. These are one shot deals, you use them and it uses up an
    item. They are used just by clicking the buttons along the bottom of the
    interception window.
    Uplink Tracking
    Cost: $10, 3 Sectoid Corpses, 5 engineers.
    When activated, the next two shots your weapon takes are guaranteed hits. More
    useful for starter weapons with a high chance to miss, and for slow firing
    weapons. Given they are pretty economical, it is worth having a couple ready
    at all times for hard UFOs.
    Defense Matrix
    Cost: $50, 3 Floater Corpses, 5 engineers.
    When activated, the next two shots the enemy takes miss you. This can be a real
    life saver against powerful ships. In particular it is useful if you are using
    a more short range weapon and need to close in before you can attack. Always
    try and keep one around at all time if you can afford it.
    UFO Tracking
    Cost: $20, 2 Cyberdisc Wrecks, 10 engineers.
    When activated, stops the timer counting down until you lose contact with the
    UFO. Used to stick on those fast UFOs. However since cyberdisc corpses are
    rare, use sparingly.
    [10.0.0] Basic Walkthrough [10.0.0]
    This provides a basic guide for what happens in a game of X-Com and some advice
    on what to do when. You'll find it is fairly high level and sparse, owing to
    the free form, random, nature of X-Com. Any step-by-step guide would invariably
    be useless since each game is a little different. Still, it'll give you a
    general idea of when things happen and what triggers various events.
    This presumes you are not doing the tutorial, as it leads you around by the
    nose for a while. The game is still generally the game, the tutorial will just
    take you through more of the beginning of the game in its scripted fashion.
    [10.1.0] Starting Out [10.1.0]
    When you first start out you pick a region for your base, discussed elsewhere,
    and you then get plunked in to a starter mission in that country. The mission
    is always the same, only the scenery varies. You have 4 rookie soldiers, there
    are 4 sectoids. You need to make there be 0 sectoids, and preferably still have
    4 soldiers. In the event you can't complete this mission, restart on an easier
    difficulty. It is a real easy mission, don't count on them getting much easier
    any time soon.
    Upon a successful killing of the sectoids, you head back to your base and are
    allowed to do as you please. Any soldier that got a kill will get promoted to
    Squaddie and get assigned a class. Make sure to get a research project going,
    you should have three to choose from. I generally go for Beam Weapons as that
    will let you have laser weaponry and it is quite a big step up. Once you've
    done all you wish to do, go scan the globe for threats, which passes time
    [10.2.0] Your First Abduction [10.2.0]
    Not long after you do some scanning, an abduction mission will happen. The
    aliens will hit three cities and you only get to choose one to deal with. The
    net result is that panic will decrease in the country you do the mission in (if
    you succeed) and stay the same for that continent. It will increase in the
    continents you don't do the mission in. Since panic levels are low everywhere
    at the start, choose your mission according to the reward. I suggest the
    engineers, but the scientists are good as well.
    [10.3.0] Research and Priorities [10.3.0]
    As you go out on missions, your scientist will decide that she'd like to have a
    chat with a live alien, and tell you capturing one would be a good idea. This
    then sets up your first priority. Whatever is a priority appears in green, and
    has a big PRIORITY next to it. Despite the name this does NOT necessarily need
    to be your highest priority. What priority actually means is "advances the
    plot". That's all well and good and you'll want to do that, but don't feel like
    you have to rush off and do priorities right away.
    Your first priority will be to research Xeno-Biology, then the Arc Thrower,
    which lets you stun enemies rather than kill them. Then you'll need to build an
    Arc Thrower, and an Alien Containment facility since aliens make lousy house
    guests and you don't want them sleeping on the couch. At that point, you'll
    need to actually get yourself an alien.
    [10.4.0] Get some Satellites [10.4.0]
    However before you worry about black-bagging an alien, worry about getting
    yourself more sat coverage. As soon as you have the engineers and the money,
    build another satellite uplink next to your first one. More sats are key to
    keeping panic from growing out of control, and they take a while to get online.
    Once you have the facility started building, go and get some satellites started
    as well. Your XO will complain that you don't have facilities for them but that
    is fine, you can have extras. It takes 20 days to build sats, so you need to
    start on them soon. They actually take longer than the facility itself.
    Also note that with projects like sats the time is fixed, regardless of number.
    So build the number you need, 3 in this case, all at once, not sequentially.
    Get 3 sats and an uplink going and in 20 days, you will be able to manage panic
    When you launch a sat over a country, it immediately reduces panic there, has a
    chance to reduce it each month, and stops abductions from happening there. So
    if you cover a region in sats, you not only get the bonus but can manage panic
    there quite well.
    Getting the globe covered in a timely fashion is very important to success.
    When the whole globe is covered, abductions no longer happen. So long as you
    can keep up with the other missions (shooting down UFOs, terror missions, and
    council missions) you should be able to get everything down to 1 bar of panic
    and keep it there.
    [10.5.0] Fetching an Alien [10.5.0]
    The basics are pretty simple: Equip one or more soldiers with an Arc Thrower
    and then go stun an alien. However it can be a little harder than that. Arc
    Throwers have a very limited range. You'll need to close to within a few tiles
    of the alien to be able to use it. You can see the range when you are selected
    on a soldier with the arc thrower, any alien will have a blue circle with
    lightning bolts on it. Within that range, you can use the Arc Thrower.
    Also, despite the description, you CAN use it on aliens with more than 3 HP, it
    just lowers your chances a lot, quickly approaching 1% as HP gets high. Also,
    lowering an alien's health below 3 can be useful. An un-upgraded Arc Thrower
    has a 70% change to stun a 3 HP alien, but about a 90% chance to stun a 1 HP
    one. Pistols can be useful here as they do tiny amounts of damage.
    What I like to do is find a likely target, an alien that is alone and not too
    tough. Have someone suppress it so that it stays put, ping it with a pistol to
    get it down to 1 HP, and then have an assault with an Arc Thrower sneak up and
    knock it out.
    I would do this as soon as you are able. Also, get one of each kind of alien
    you encounter, as you get different research benefits for each one. You only
    need to do each interrogation once though.
    However, it can be useful to nab additional aliens to get their weapons. In
    particular Thin Men carry Light Plasma Rifles so you might want to stun them,
    whenever the risk of doing so is low. That way when you research it, you can
    have a collection of rifles ready to go for your squad.
    [10.6.0] Getting an Outsider Shard [10.6.0]
    Before very long you'll encounter an Outsider, which the doctor calls a being
    of almost pure energy. She immediately fixates on it and wants you to grab one.
    When you do successfully stun one you'll discover that you don't get to bring
    it home, but rather get an Outsider Shard. Once you have that, it becomes your
    priority research and I'd go ahead and do that.
    With that complete, you'll be able to build a Skeleton Key in engineering,
    which will let you go and assault the alien base that the shard will have
    helped you find. When you have that, you can then choose to do an alien base
    assault at your leisure.
    [10.7.0] All Their Base Are Belong to You [10.7.0]
    At this point your priority is to assault the alien base. Now you may be
    tempted to hang back, build up a bunch of weapons, and then go, however this is
    probably not the way to do things. There are three things to consider:
    1) The game does increase alien difficulty as you get better. So if you wait,
    there will be tougher aliens in the base. As such you aren't going to gain a
    huge amount by putting it off for a long time.
    2) Panic level becomes a real problem. Because of those damn abduction
    missions, your panic will likely be rising faster than you can control it. When
    you knock off the base, panic will reduce in ALL countries by 2.
    3) The base has a ton of resources for you to procure, so you get a bunch more
    alloys, elerium, and money (there's multiple things you can sell that have no
    research value) to kick start your operation.
    As such, I'd say you hit the base when panic is starting to become a problem,
    before any countries leave if possible. If you go early on, with just laser
    weapons, and Carapace/Skeleton Armor you'll find it is pretty much just
    Sectoids, Thin Men, Drones, and Chryssalids, plus a Sectoid Commander at the
    end. It isn't too bad, if you are careful. If you wait, there will be
    progressively harder aliens (in line with what you'll see on missions) in
    Despite the mission being enclosed, there are lots of wide spaces in the base
    so bring your snipers along, don't go all close quarters units. A good mix of
    units will serve you well, snipers included. They'll have plenty of high ground
    and open spaces to play with. You'll also want at least one assault along for
    sure, since there are some long corridors with little cover that they are great
    for breaching.
    Advance carefully, stay in cover, and keep reaction fire up and you should be
    [10.8.0] Hyperwave Research [10.8.0]
    Despite your XO getting all excited, the doctor is correct, the war is not
    over. She'll now be all excited to research the Hyperwave Relay you found in
    the base. You can do this as you please, it doesn't matter all that much.
    Keep building up satellites, you want to go for full coverage as soon as you
    can. You'll need two uplinks and two nexuses in a 2x2 block to be able to
    control that many with a minimum amount of facilities, so make sure to get
    Alien Nav Computer researched so you can build a nexus. You'll need to get nav
    computers off the alien ships to build it as well, so don't go selling those
    Once you've researched Hyperwave Communication, your chief engineer will want
    to build your very own Hyperwave Relay.
    [10.9.0] A New UFO, and it is... Purple? [10.9.0]
    I would hold off on building the Hyperwave Relay until you at least have the
    materials to research a new fighter craft. The reason is once you build it,
    it'll sit there and do crossword puzzles for a few weeks and then go nuts. The
    engineer will want it off, the doctor will demand it stays on and in the end,
    It'll be up and running. This gives you full information on any UFO you see,
    which is nice, but also introduces a new UFO, which has a purple icon called an
    However the thing is so damn fast, your normal interceptors can't take it out,
    even when you use a bunch of boost abilities to help them out. This means if
    you'll have to keep letting it go, which of course lowers your monthly rating,
    until you do have some new interceptors to go blast it with. As such, hold off
    on building the relay.
    Once the UFO shows up, your priority becomes researching and then building new
    When you shoot it down, you have to go and clear it out, of course. Here an
    Ethereal will show up for the first time. They are exceedingly good at mind
    control so be careful. It is hiding in the most central room, guarded by Muton
    Elites. When you enter the doctor will chatter about its ability, but then
    immediately become enthralled by the device in the middle of the room. Melt
    some alien faces and then it is back to base.
    [10.10.0] Well That Didn't Help! [10.10.0]
    As soon as you get back to base another UFO will show up, a REALLY big one. So
    that whole "taking out the overseer" doesn't seem to have improved your
    situation much. Your new priority becomes to research the Etheral Device. Don't
    do that just yet; make sure you research the Etheral corpse to get the ability
    to build a Mind Shield. You'll have to kill more Etherals before you can build
    one, but they are extremely useful. They increase your will by 30 making your
    soldiers much harder to mind control.
    Successfully researching it will unlock the ability research Psi Armor, and to
    build a Gollop Chamber.
    [10.11.0] You Call it a What Chamber? [10.11.0]
    So now your priority is to build the rather oddly named Gollop Chamber
    (apparently credit to one of the original X-Com designers). This is the
    penultimate chapter in the game. Once the chamber is built, you have to get a
    soldier who is good enough at psionics to activate it, when is then what you
    use to trigger the final mission. During the time while you are building it and
    getting your soldier, you'll have to deal with the normal alien-swatting
    activities like shooting down UFOs, dealing with terror missions, and so on. As
    long as you maintain your satellite network and respond to things when they
    happen, it shouldn't be too bad.
    It appears you must equip the soldier you wish to use with Psi Armor. No matter
    how high their will, they cannot use the chamber until they have the armor
    [10.12.0] An End, Once and For All [10.12.0]
    Upon activating the chamber you'll get a little cutscene, and your soldier will
    go in and have a brief chat with the aliens. They'll also get the Rift ability
    that the Etherals have (on top of their other powers). At this point, all you
    can do is go and assault the Temple Ship (the big purple craft), the final
    mission. The game won't let you scan anymore or do anything other than build
    any items that complete right away. You are locked in to the final mission once
    you activate the chamber, so don't do it until you are ready.
    Make sure you have a team you are happy with, and that they are all healed. If
    keeping units up is proving to be a problem, you may want to send your low
    ranked units and SHIVs and so on for missions while your Colonels heal up and
    get ready.
    In terms of who to take I'd concentrate more on people with max rank and high
    will than I would with specific classes. Also look at bringing people with PSI
    training, it can really help out. The ship is pretty big, so all classes,
    including snipers, have a role. However if you have the troops to choose, I'd
    look at two support, two assault, a heavy, and a sniper, or alternately one
    assault and two snipers. Make sure your supports have medkits and are of the
    healybot variety, look at Chitin Plating or Mind Shields for everyone, and have
    all the best weapons/armor.
    Something else to note is that your volunteer who activates the Gollop Chamber
    must survive. So supposing you have a choice, a sniper might be a good one.
    Whatever the case you need to play conservative with that unit. If you have to
    sacrifice someone in a situation, don't make it them.
    The Temple Ship is pretty much just a long linear corridor with multiple
    levels. It is very open, so your snipers are plenty useful. You progress
    through the ship as the alien voice whines about all its failures, but seems
    happy with your "new one," and goes on with the "I had to kill you to save
    you," crap. You get to fight and kill all these failures (the enemy aliens)
    roughly in increasing order of difficulty.
    When you reach the end, you get to fight big Uber Etheral. He summons up a
    bunch of other critters to fight you as well, but they all disappear when he
    dies. As a note, the barrier in the middle before the hallway has good line of
    sight for snipers to him. First time I fought him, I didn't do anything with my
    forward troops. My snipers took 3 shots, got 3 hits and that was it. Other than
    summoning enemies, he is just a regular Etheral, but tougher (higher will, more
    HP, better deflection, etc).
    Once he's dead the alien voice whines about you killing him. Well if you didn't
    want a sniper shot to the face, you should have left Earth alone. They seem to
    think you can't handle whatever is coming after without their "help." You then
    get the end cutscene, stats and credits.
    That is it for X-Com for now.
    [11.0.0] Mods [11.0.0]
    While X-Com wasn't designed to be modded, some intrepid modders are working on
    it anyhow. The best place to look for mods is http://xcom.nexusmods.com/ it is
    part of the Nexus Network that does the Elder Scrolls games and all that. At
    this point, you can find mods that alter the game balance in some various ways.
    It turns out a lot of stats about the game are in a file called
    DefaultGameCore.ini, but that editing it doesn't do anything. The reason is
    that it has been cooked in to exe file itself. However, modders with resource
    editors can alter that.
    Who knows how far they'll be able to mod the game ultimately, but it is an area
    of active development. So if you love the game but wish that some things were
    changed or improves, well check over there from time to time, maybe they have
    [11.1.0] Basic Modding [11.1.0]
    WARNING: This is fairly advanced stuff. If you aren't comfortable messing with
    it, don't. Also please donít e-mail me about it, I do not have time to walk
    people through this.
    If you want to modify X-Com a bit to suit your tastes, and aren't interested in
    using any of the current mods out there, you can actually do so pretty easily.
    As noted, the DefaultGameCore.ini has many of the settings you might wish to
    change in the game, particularly ones related to difficulty. However the
    executable wonít read it, it only reads the version cooked in it. 
    This can be fixed.
    What you need to do is get yourself a hex editor HxD is a good choice. Either
    make a backup of the X-ComGame.exe file, or be prepared to re-download it from
    Steam if you make a mistake. Do be warned that this can break you game if you
    mess it up, and youíll have to reverify integrity or reinstall to make it work.
    In your hex editor go to offset 157D93C (hexadecimal). There you will see the
    strings "\.X.C.o.m.G.a.m.e.\.C.o.n.f.i.g.\.D.e.f.a.u.l.t.G.a.m.e.C.o.r.e...
    \.D.e.f.a.u.l.t.L.o.a.d.o.u.t.s...i.n.i." over in the text section. What these
    are doing is telling the game what files NOT to load. So you can change that.
    All you do is change the character to something else. I'd change it to "43"
    which is a C. So youíll have "\.C.C.o.m.G.a.m.e.\.C.o.n.f.i.g.\
    .D.e.f.a.u.l.t.G.a.m.e.C.o.r.e...i.n.i". Save that change.
    At this point, the game will load the DefaultGameCore.ini in its Config
    directory, instead of the one cooked in the exe. You may now modify it as you
    wish. I would make a backup first in case you mess it up. Otherwise you could
    have to reverify integrity, which would of course also replace the exe with the
    Now you aren't done quite yet, as every time you run the game, it'll contact
    the server and download some of the game core data, and use that instead of
    what you've modified. So to stop this, you'll need to block the game on your
    firewall. This will, of course, disable multi-player play but then you didn't
    buy X-Com for MP anyhow :).
    One thing to note is that while the changes you make are immediate, they only
    apply when something happens that would cause them to be loaded. So if you
    change soldier level up progression, it will not retroactively apply to
    soldiers already leveled. For the most part, you want to start a new game when
    you change things, otherwise you might have some strange results.
    [12.0.0] DLC [12.0.0]
    There are currently two pieces of DLC available for X-Com:
    Elite Soldier Pack
    This was the first DLC, which you got for free if you preordered, and is purely
    cosmetic. It allows for more customization to soldier appearance, including a
    whole bunch of different armor colors, and some new helmets/hair styles you
    didn't get in the base game. Basically just for fun, though the color feature
    can be useful for color coding different classes (I do purple snipers, red
    assaults, white supports, black heavies, and yellow rookies).
    Slingshot Pack
    A set of three custom council missions. They follow the same basic format of
    other council missions, but the details are a bit different and more scripted.
    You escort a VIP, who then becomes a soldier for you. Then have to set a bunch
    of transponders in a mission similar to a bomb disarmament. Finally you assault
    a battleship, though with a greatly easier set of aliens than normal. Net
    result is you get a soldier, and a bunch of battleship tech early on. It is
    really not all that special.
    Neither DLC is all that great, thus both are the kind of thing to look at
    getting on sale, rather than full price. Due to the poor reception of the
    Slingshot Pack, Firaxis is reevaluating what they are going to do with future
    DLC. It is unclear if there will be any more, or what form it will take.
    [13.0.0] Cheats [13.0.0]
    Currently the only known in-game cheats are to give soldiers special names.
    There are five "super soldiers" you can unlock doing this. When you rename a
    soldier to the proper name the game will warn you that this will disable Steam
    achievements, and if you say yes, your soldier will be transformed in to said
    super soldier. They all have extreme stats (as much as 200), high end weapons
    and armor, and physically resemble the real person whose name they have. They
    Assault : Otto Zander
    Heavy: Joe Kelly
    Sniper: Ken Levine
    Support: Sid Meier
    Sniper: Chris Kluwe (not as high stats as the other four)
    Other than that if you want to cheat, you'll have to turn to modifying the
    config in the exe as the modders do, or memory editing. Tools like Cheat Engine
    and Art Money can easily edit memory values in this game, they are all stored
    in a normal unencrypted format, normally 4 byte integers for most values.
    You can always find the latest version of this guide on GameFAQs.com.
    This guide is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
    (CC BY 3.0) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode).