Missions (EU2012)

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Tactical missions are XCOM's main operations and can be generated through either Mission Control or the Situation Room. Each mission will have a codename, and will have a Brief and Objectives for XCOM to achieve. At the end of the mission the XCOM Commander will be shown an After Action Report detailing the success/failure of the mission.

Launch Mission

Mission Types

Alien Missions

Missions involving alien invaders are the bread and butter of XCOM. You'll be asked to either stop alien activity in specific countries or to recover landed/crashed UFOs. Ignoring these missions increases the panic level of the country, and usually also in the continent where they occur, with the exception of Crashed UFO sites.

Council Missions

Council missions will appear periodically and you'll be given resources (credits, soldiers, etc.) in exchange for completing these missions, in addition it may also reduce the panic level of the country where it takes place. If failed or ignored most missions will also raise panic on the country, and, in Impossible difficulty, on the entire continent.

The most difficult Council missions are usually the Bomb Disposal sites because of the time window involved to deactivate the alien bomb. After a player has reached the mid/late game the Council missions will turn into training runs since your advanced weapons and armor will be more than a match for the usual Thin Men found in those missions.

Slingshot DLC Missions

Slingshot is a DLC available for Enemy Unknown which consists in a campaign of 3 Council missions that unlock a playable soldier Zhang along with additional salvage. The Slingshot missions will only be offered once in the first month of the game and you'll be given the choice of taking it instead or a regular Council mission. After each mission appears available on the Situation Room it is possible for the player to delay it indefinitely by choosing the 'Not Now' option.

On the Enemy Within DLC, the Slingshot campaign has been pushed to a May start, instead of late March.

Storyline Missions

These are special Missions that you'll need to complete in order to progress in the Storyline. Failure to complete certain missions will be considered a game loss. There are five Storyline missions, although the two Tutorials are optional at game start.

  • Tutorial
  • Meld Tutorial (EW DLC)
  • Alien Base Assault
  • XCOM Base Defense (EW DLC)
  • Temple Ship Assault

For more details see the Storyline Missions page (massive spoilers!).

XCOM: Enemy Within DLC Missions

In addition to the ones already mentioned above, the Enemy Within DLC introduces several new missions.

Covert Operations Missions

Covert Operations missions that become available on the Situation Room after EXALT appears in May. Covert missions will be available until the EXALT base is destroyed.

Council Missions

Progeny Missions

Progeny is a Council campaign of 3 missions that is optional at game start. It can be played in the same game with Slingshot campaign also activated, or as a solo campaign.

Mission Frequency

The majority of the tactical missions will be generated periodically by the game upon certain definitions on a monthly basis. It is possible to ignore those missions but it will usually have negative consequences as panic will increase.

Storyline missions don't have any time requirements and can be completed at the player's discretion. However, the Alien Base assault can alter the frequency of Abductions, Terror Sites and UFO missions.

Before Alien Base Assault

  • 1st mission - Tutorial or regular Alien Abductions mission in March.
  • Up to 2 Abductions each month, depending on the number of countries without satellites.
  • 1 Terror Site every even month (April, June, etc.)
  • 1 Council Mission every month, between the 13th and the 27th, can be Slingshot campaign (EU only), if the Tutorial isn't activated.
  • 1 Council Request each 20 days + 7 random days. Each Request has a requirement and if it isn't met no request is generated (common in the early months). Each request has a 20 days limit to be completed before it disappears.
    • On the Enemy Within DLC, there are two monthly time windows, between the 5th and 15th days and between the 17th and 27th.
    • There can be only 1 Council Mission each month. On each window there will be either a Mission or Request (25% chance for 2 Requests, 50% for Mission and a Request, 25% for a Request/Mission). The Slingshot and Progeny missions can fill either window.
  • 1 detected UFO each month, either crashed or landed.
    • 50% chance for a 2nd detected UFO during April to June (March to July with Second Wave's Marathon).

Special Missions

  • On the Enemy Within DLC, Slingshot's Friends In Low Places mission happens on day 51, or around April 20th. Confounding Light mission happens 25 days after (around May 15th) and Gangplank 2 days afterwards.
  • Also in EW, the Portent mission of the Progeny campaign is a Council mission in April.
  • EXALT on May, on the 12th to 24th (Easy and Normal) and 6th to 24th (Classic and Impossible).

After Alien Base Assault

  • 1 monthly Abduction mission, if there are 3+ countries in the Council without a satellite.
  • 1 Terror Site every month.
  • 1 Council Mission every month, between the 13th and the 27th, can be Slingshot campaign (EU only).
  • 1 Council Request each 20 days.
    • On EW, there are two monthly time windows, between the 5th and 15th days and between the 17th and 27th.
    • There can be only 1 Council Mission each month. On each window there will be either a Mission or Request (25% chance for 2 Requests, 50% for Mission and a Request, 25% for a Request/Mission). The Slingshot and Progeny missions can fill either window.
  • 1 detected UFO each month, either crashed or landed.
    • 50% chance for a 2nd detected UFO each month.
    • Random Mission - if the 2nd UFO wasn't added, the game may add an additional Abductions, Terror or Council mission. The AI will choose randomly between the mission types according to the following criteria: Terror and Council missions can only be chosen if they haven't been already scheduled for the month; in the case of Abductions, they are only chosen if there are 3 or more countries without satellites. If none of the criteria is met, there won't be an additional mission added.

Special Missions

  • Base Defense - 2 to 3 weeks after XCOM assaults the Alien Base (EW DLC)
    • Progeny campaign Deluge and Furies missions - both take place the month after Base Defense and building the Psionic Lab. Furies takes place 7 days (168 hours) after Deluge.
  • EXALT Elites replace regulars in July.

Abductions

  • Abductions require a minimum of 2 countries with satellites to take place and have a maximum of 3 countries targeted each round. There is a maximum of 2 Abductions each month.
    • An exception is that after the Alien Base is assaulted, which always requires 3 countries as targets to take place.
  • Before the Alien Base mission, there will be 2 Abductions each month, if there are 5 or more countries (3 for the 1st Abductions, 2+ for the 2nd Abductions) still in the Council without a satellite.
  • After the Alien Base is assaulted it can be none or up to 2 monthly missions, depending on the number of countries remaining on the Council without satellites.
    • The 1st mission will take place with only two countries available but the 2nd round of Abductions always requires 6 countries without satellites to be planned by the AI.
  • The aliens will target any countries still in the Council that don't have a satellite deployed and avoid any country already marked for a Terror Site during the month.
  • On EW (and probably for EU as well) there are two time windows for Abductions. The 1st is between day 1 and 7 of the month, the 2nd between the 11 and 25 days. The first window is only used if there are two Abductions scheduled for the month.

Terror Site

  • Before the Alien Base mission, there's 1 Terror Site every even month (April, June, etc.). After the base is destroyed, it takes place every month.
  • Terror missions will take place on countries still in the Council, regardless of if they have satellites deployed or not.
  • There's a 75% chance that the aliens will choose to terrorize the most panicked country. If not, the aliens will randomly choose between the 3 countries with the most panic levels.
  • The targeted country will also be removed from the target list for any Abduction missions that take place on that month.

UFOs

  • Detected UFOs can be conducting 4 types of missions: Scout Target, Destroy Satellite, Harvest Live Specimens, and Final Preparations.
  • There's a monthly limit of 2 UFOs being detected either landed (Harvest Live Specimens mission) or flying (Scout Target mission)
  • 1 UFO is always detected each month, either flying or landed.
  • The appearance of the 2nd UFO is dependent if the Alien Base has been assaulted:
    • If it hasn't been assaulted and the 2nd Abductions mission has been added, there's a 50% chance for a 2nd detected UFO during April or May (April to June with Second Wave's Marathon).
    • If it hasn't been assaulted and the 2nd Abductions mission has not been added due to a lack of sufficient countries, the 2nd UFO will always be generated.
    • If the Alien Base has been assaulted there's a 50% chance for a 2nd detected UFO.
  • Each month there will be specific UFOs available (either flying or landed) for missions.
    • If there are flying UFOs available for that month there's a 66% chance that the UFO will be detected while flying. Otherwise if there are landed UFOs available it will be a Landed UFO mission.
    • If there were no detections or there are no available landed UFOs, the game will choose from a pool of possible UFO types for the month.
  • More UFOs can appear in case a Destroy Satellite UFO mission is generated but there's a maximum of 2 UFO ground missions.
    • A Destroy Satellite UFO will only appear if any Harvest Live Specimens or Scout Target missions are completely ignored (no interceptors or Skyranger is launched and intercept/deploy the UFO).
    • The aliens will send quickly a Large Scout/Battleship on a Destroy Satellite mission, depending on the game difficulty. If the first mission is ground assaulted or intercepted, regardless of the final result, the 2nd mission will not be generated.
  • The Final Preparations UFO mission is only assigned to Overseer UFOs and only appears after you've progressed enough on the Storyline to build the Hyperwave Relay.

Council

A list of Council missions and their rewards can be seen at Council Missions.

  • On Enemy Unknown, 1 Council Mission every month, between the 13th and the 27th, can be filled by Slingshot campaign missions.
  • On the Enemy Within DLC, there are two monthly time windows, between the 5th and 15th days and between the 17th and 27th.
    • There can be only 1 Council Mission each month. On each window there will be either a Mission or Request (25% chance for 2 Requests, 50% for Mission and a Request, 25% for a Request/Mission). The Slingshot and Progeny missions can fill either window.
    • Slingshot or Progeny missions will take place during these time windows. It is possible to have a mission from either campaign and a regular Council mission on the same month.
    • If the Meld Tutorial is active it will take the place of the 1st Council mission.

EXALT

For a detailed explanation of the appearance of EXALT see EXALT Cells and Covert Operations.

Mission Factors

Response Times

Mission Control

Each mission will have a window of opportunity of 1-2 days, specific values below:

Mission Deadline (Hours)
Abductions 48
Terror Site 30
Crashed UFO 30
Landed UFO 30
Council 48

Mission Difficulty

The overall difficulty of a mission depends on the number and type of aliens present in a mission and the Difficulty level. For a detailed breakdown of the numbers, check Alien Deployment.

Abduction missions will appear with individual difficulty levels of: Easy/Moderate/Difficult/Very Difficult. These give an indication of the total number of alien and the number of alien "pods" (groups of 1-3 aliens) present on the mission. The individual mission difficulty is a number calculated with the following steps:

  1. The number of current Storyline Act (can vary from 1 to 3) is reduced by -1 and added to the mission difficulty.
  2. The panic level of the country (1 to 5) is reduced by -1 and the final number added.
  3. A random number from 0 to 2 is added.
  4. If playing on Impossible difficulty a +1 modifier is added.
  5. The difficulty number is clamped to a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 3. The final number determines the mission difficulty, with 0 being Easy and 3 Very Difficult.

Mission Rewards

On Abductions, the type of the rewards is randomly chosen when the mission appears, while on Council missions the rewards are predetermined.

There are 4 types of rewards possible for Abduction missions. Since there are only 3 Abduction sites during a raid only 3 of these rewards will be chosen, with no repeats. On the first Abduction mission the rewards will always be credits, scientists or engineers.

  • §200
  • 4 Scientists
  • 4 Engineers
  • 1 trained soldier, with a semi-random class and a rank randomly chosen between Sergeant and Major.

If using Second Wave's High Stakes option then the rewards are randomized as the following:

  • §100-300
  • 2-6 Scientists
  • 2-6 Engineers

On the Enemy Within DLC, the Covert Operations missions will give either §100 (Covert Extractions) or either §100 or §150 for Covert Data Extractions, depending on if the Encoder has been destroyed or retrieved intact.

The Progeny and Slingshot campaigns have predetermined rewards for each mission, see Progeny vs. Slingshot. Finally, the salvage from UFO missions is calculated separately.

Alien Species Deployment Table

For detailed information on the actual probabilities of seeing an alien species during a mission, check Alien Deployment.

Enemy Unknown

Mission Sectoid Thin Man Outsider Drone Floater Muton Chryssalid Sectoid Commander Heavy Floater Muton Elite Cyberdisc Berserker Ethereal Sectopod
Abductions YES YES NO YES YES YES NO NO YES YES YES YES NO NO
Terror Site NO NO NO YES YES YES 1 YES NO YES NO YES YES NO YES
Scout UFO YES YES YES YES YES YES NO YES YES YES YES YES YES NO
Large UFO YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
Council YES YES NO NO NO YES NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
Slingshot YES YES NO NO NO YES YES NO NO NO YES NO NO NO
Storyline YES YES NO YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
1 As escorts to Berserkers.

Enemy Within DLC

Mission Sectoid Thin Man Outsider Drone Floater Muton Chryssalid Sectoid Commander Heavy Floater Muton Elite Cyberdisc Berserker Ethereal Sectopod Mechtoid Seeker
Abductions YES YES NO YES YES YES NO YES1 YES YES YES YES NO NO YES YES
Terror Site NO NO NO YES YES YES2 YES NO YES NO YES YES NO YES  ?  ?
Scout UFO YES YES YES YES YES YES NO YES YES YES YES YES YES NO YES YES
Large UFO YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
Council YES YES NO NO NO YES YES3 NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
Slingshot YES YES NO NO NO YES YES NO NO NO YES NO NO NO NO NO
Progeny YES YES NO NO  ? YES  ? YES  ?  ?  ? YES NO  ? YES  ?
Storyline YES YES NO YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
1 As escorts to Mechtoids.
2 As escorts to Berserkers.
3 Site Recon mission only.

Progeny vs. Slingshot

  • Portent first appears in April, but the other two missions in this side plot won't take place until the aliens have done their assault on the XCOM HQ, which only takes place after the assault on the Alien Base.
  • Friends in Low Places takes place after Portent, and you will usually finish the whole Slingshot campaign before the rest of Progeny.
  • Annette and her fellow abductees' stats, recruited months into the game, won't be as useful as getting Zhang in just a few weeks in, especially since pre-leveled recruits (such as from Abduction/Council rewards) don't benefit from OTS's Iron Will.
    • This also includes having your late-game soldiers in mind, particularly if Hidden Potential and Not Created Equally are chosen, and you have already begun farming and raising for your Psi Squad; they can easily get higher stats than these pre-leveled soldiers.
    • Pre-leveled soldiers are not a priority reward in general: generic Abduction/Council Reward soldiers will always be one level below your highest-ranked solider for that class, and Zhang is the one exception as he would be the only one that could be of higher rank than any soldiers you'll have at the time, at least in vanilla EU, where he could be gotten in March.
  • What you can sell and research from Slingshot's Battleship mission in (as early as) April, has now been moved to May.
  • At the very least, the Council rewards of the first missions are more profitable from Slingshot.
Slingshot A stand-alone storyline. As the name implies, these missions are a way to get massive early leads, particulary in Enemy Unknown- at extreme risk and difficulty. The chance for early Muton captures can give you the Plasma Weaponry Research credit and Alien Grenades. Progeny Inherent (though obviously, not required) to EW's added storyline: containts the first encounter (and the only capture) of an EXALT agent, and explores Annette's abilities, as Dr Vahlen later discovers that Annette was used by the aliens for the attack on XCOM Base.
Friends in Low Places

Council Rewards:

  • 2 Engineers
  • 2 Scientists
  • §200
  • Zhang (Heavy Lieutenant)

Enemies:

  • Sectoids
  • Thin Men
  • Chryssalid, or 1 Muton (w/Plasma Rifle) on Impossible Difficulty (EU)
    • Chryssalid on Easy/Normal, Muton on Classic/Impossible (EW)

Note:

  • May be as early as 2 weeks into the game in EU
    • Thus, for Classic/Impossible, Zhang will probably unlock OTS construction
  • Appears late April, after Portent, in EW
Portent

Council Rewards:

  • 1 Engineer
  • 1 Scientist
  • §150

Enemies:

  • Sectoids
  • Thin Men

Note:

  • Appears early April
  • As a "Portent" [1], it features the first seen EXALT agent
Confounding Light

Council Reward:

  • 2 Engineers

Enemies

  • Thin Men
  • Mutons (w/Plasma Rifles)
    • A greater number of Mutons will teleport in on higher difficulties.

Note:

  • 10 turn limit, placing devices does not extend time
  • Arguably the most difficult of all DLC missions, perhaps the most difficult of all early-game missions
    • Wounds suffered here may put soldiers out of commission for the next few missions, particularly Gangplank
  • Can be done as early as April (EU), late May (EW)
Deluge

Council Rewards:

  • §100
  • Annette (random class, Sergeant)

Enemies:

  • Sectoids
  • Thin Men
  • Mutons (w/Plasma Rifles)
  • Mechtoids

Note:

  • Will not occur until after you do the Alien Base Assault
  • Level is on a damaged dam, with a turn limit. Opening valves will extend time by 2 turns each (similar to a Bomb Disposal Mission). Only one soldier needs to reach the target area at the end of the dam.
Gangplank

Council Reward:

  • 2 Engineers

Enemies:

  • Sectoids
  • Thin Men
  • Chryssalids
  • 1 Cyberdisc
  • 1 Muton

Note:

  • Will occur within days of completing Confounding Light
    • Thus: April in EU, May in EW

Spoils of Victory:

  • ~500 Alien Alloys
  • ~300 Elerium
  • 5x UFO Power Engines
  • 6x UFO Flight Computers
  • 2x Fusion Cores
Furies

Council Reward:

  • §100
  • Possibility of acquiring all three abductees as Psionic Lieutenants, if rescued

Enemies:

  • Sectoids
  • Thin Men
  • Mechtoids
  • Berserker

Note:

  • A landed Abductor in the Alps. Target is a unique console in the central room of the UFO, just before the door to the bridge

Spoils of Victory:

  • 2x UFO Power Engines
  • 4x UFO Flight Computers
  • 2x Alien Surgery
  • Note the exclusion of Alloy and Elerium recovery.

See Also

  • Mission Control
  • UFOs - For more information regarding salvage from landed/downed UFOs.
  • Maps - For details on the types of terrain for each mission.
  • Managing Panic - For more information regarding country and world panic.
  • Alien Deployment - For data on the number of aliens present during a mission.
EU2012 Badge XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012): Missions/Maps/Map Info
Landed UFO Small Scout: RiverRiver ValleyLarge Scout: Creepy ForestHillsideAbductor: Farm OutskirtsWinding StreamSupply Ship: Forest GroveRocky Gorge
Crashed UFO Small Scout: BadlandsDirt Road MarshlandsQuagmireSmall Scout Farm (EW DLC)Small Scout Nuked City (EW DLC)Small Scout Roadhouse (EW DLC)Large Scout: Deep WoodsForest TrenchStonewallThe BarrensLarge Scout City (EW DLC)Abductor: CliffsideScorched EarthSupply Ship: Overlook AWildfireBattleship: Battleship 01Battleship 02
Abductions BarBoulevardCemetery GrandCommercial Alley (EU only)Commercial StreetConvenience Store (EU only)Demolition (EU only)Fast FoodGas Station (EU only)Highway BridgeHighway ConstructionIndustrial OfficeLiquor StoreMuseum (EU only)Office PaperPier AResearch Outpost (EU only)Rooftops ConstSlaughterhouse ASmall CemeteryStreet HurricaneStreet OverpassTrain StationTrainyardTruckstop (EU only)Commercial Alley EWI (EW DLC)Convenience Store EWI (EW DLC)Demolition EWI (EW DLC)Fast Food EWI (EW DLC)Gas Station EWI (EW DLC)Highway Construction EWI (EW DLC)Office Paper EWI (EW DLC)Research Outpost EWI (EW DLC)Street Overpass EWI (EW DLC)Truck Stop EWI (EW DLC)
Terror Site BarCommercial AlleyCommercial RestaurantCommercial StreetConvenience StoreStreet HurricaneHighway 1Military AmmoPolice StationOffice Paper (EW DLC)Pier A Terror (EW DLC)
Bomb Disposal Cemetery GrandHighway BridgeSlaughterhouse ATrain StationTrainyard
Asset Recovery Cemetery GrandIndustrial OfficePier AResearch OutpostStreet OverpassTruckstop
Extraction/Escort Extraction: Boulevard (EU only)Highway FallenMuseum (EU only)Street Hurricane (EW DLC)Escort: Commercial AlleyPier AResearch Outpost
Storyline Intro LevelAlien Base 01Alien Base 02Overseer: (Deep WoodsForest TrenchStonewallThe Barrens) • Temple Ship
Multiplayer BarBoulevardCemetery GrandPolice StationTrainyardObservatory (EW DLC)Rooftops Construction (EW DLC)Ruined Fishing Village (EW DLC)Stop 'N Gulp (EW DLC)Wrecked Pier (EW DLC)XCom HQ (EW DLC)
Slingshot DLC Friends in Low Places (Map)Confounding Light (Map)Gangplank (Map)
Enemy Within DLC Progeny: Portent (Map)Deluge (Map)Furies (Map)Other: Meld TutorialSite Recon (Map)EXALT Base Raid (Map)XCOM Base (Map)
Covert Operations Covert Data Recovery: BoulevardCommercial RestaurantDemolition EWIGas Station EWIHighway ConstructionIndustrial OfficeOffice Paper EWIPolice StationRooftops ConstTruck Stop EWICovert Extraction: Commercial Alley EWIConvenience Store EWIHighway Construction EWILiquor StoreMilitary AmmoPier A TerrorPortentResearch Outpost EWIStreet Overpass EWITrainyard