Alien Missions (Long War)

From UFOpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Long War Main Page

During the long war against the alien threat, the skies are also part of the battlespace. Aliens will dispatch sorties of UFOs to further their goals during the war, and XCOM may respond in kind by sending out interceptors and the Skyranger to foil their missions in the air or on the ground. In other words, an alien mission always starts with an UFO sortie.

There are eight types of regular alien missions scheduled on a monthly basis. The type of each mission is determined by the resources the aliens have, and how threatening XCOM is perceived to be. There are also two special mission types that occur irregularly. All ten mission types are listed and discussed below, followed by a table detailing the scheduling of regular missions.

The aliens' choice of UFOs is limited by their research and resources, with the actual ship sent on a mission being chosen randomly - with equal probability for each - from the available pool. For example, if the aliens are weak then they will randomly send either a Scout or Raider for research; if they are strong however, then the large Abductor and Terror Ship will be added to the pool for the same mission.

Conversely, any damage and casualties sustained by the UFOs will cut into the aliens’ resources, likely limiting their options in the following month and influencing what kinds of UFOs they will send on the remaining missions of the month.

The aliens have a strategy in Long War, and tend to focus on geographic locations. Expect to fight them the most in the continent where they build their first base. [1]

Resource Costs

Missions themselves do not require Alien Resources to run if left unchallenged, but shooting down or damaging the UFOs conducting them does cost the aliens resources. Crucially, though, which UFOs are deployed depend indirectly on the current alien resources at the time the mission is initiated, as well as current Alien Research. Specifically, Aliens add stronger UFOs to a pool if they have sufficient resources, choosing randomly from the pool when it comes time to start the mission (with equal probability for each UFO type); Alien Research reduces the amount of resources the Aliens must have on hand at the time the mission is about to begin for the stronger UFOs to be added to the pool.

  • If Alien Research > 0, new types require 100% of their base required resources.
  • If Alien Research > 360, new types are possible at 72% of required resources.
  • If Alien Research > 720, new types are possible at 40% of required resources.

Mission Types

Scout

A UFO will fly low and around the target country, attempting to confirm the existence of XCOM satellites there. Successful scouting missions will be followed up by a new sortie to hunt the compromised satellite. It is possible that the hunting UFO will be stronger or weaker than the scouting one, so the priority to intercept this mission can vary.

A scout mission can fail in four ways: 1) the UFO is shot down, 2) the UFO could botch the mission due to sustained damaged, 3) the target country could fend off the mission by itself, or, if all else fails, 4) the UFO could simply get unlucky. The odds of these failures happening are as follows:

  • Downed: 100% - if it's shot down they will always get nothing.
  • Damaged: (100 - RemainingUFOHP)% - this means XCOM can commit less and gamble on merely damaging the UFO.
  • Defended: (CountryDefense/2)% - the shield representing a country's defense is shown in the Situation Room and is improved by fulfilling their requests; maximum chance is 50% with 100% CountryDefense.
  • Damned: (60 - AlienResearch/15)% - this means when the aliens have 900 research points, an unfettered scouting mission will always succeed.

The aliens will always send at least three scouting sorties per month, and more if they have resources to spare and perceive XCOM to be a credible threat, up to a maximum of six sorties per month.

UFO Pool:

  • Scout: Always in pool
  • Raider: Aliens must have > 50 / 36 / 20 resources
  • Destroyer: Aliens must have > 225 / 162 / 90 resources
  • Battleship: Aliens must have > 300 / 216 / 120 resources

Hunt

A UFO will fly at high altitude over a previously scouted satellite-covered country, seeking to destroy the satellite.

The aliens will prioritize getting rid of satellites over withdrawn ex-council-members, as they have bases in such countries and without a satellite over them XCOM cannot assault it. Next, the aliens prefer satellites that protect panicking nations, and in doing so potentially forcing said nations to withdraw XCOM support, and to be controlled by them.

Successful hunts will destroy the satellite in question. The base chance of success is 60%, or 90% on the second pass (30%/50% respectively if Stealth Satellites is researched). Damage sustained by the UFO will reduce this chance further, with 50% or less HP leading to an automatic failure.

Pertinent to this specific mission type, a 50% HP UFO will start flaring up in the aerial combat screen, as if it was being hit by multiple missiles continuously. When this happens, XCOM can order their interceptor to disengage, preventing further risks while stopping the hunt mission.

Note that the aliens can dispatch hunt missions directly, without needing to scout first; although this will only occur if XCOM is seen as a threat. The more threatening XCOM is and the more resources the aliens have, the more direct hunt mission is sent, up to a maximum of four per month.

UFO Pool:

Research

A UFO will fly near NOE, land for a while, and then fly off. This mission will grant the aliens research if successful, which will slowly but permanently increase the capabilities of their ground troops and UFOs.

If the aliens have no resource (0/4) to spare, the aliens will never undertake research missions; conversely, if they already have too many resources (4/4), then the maximum amount of research missions will be performed (three per month.) Otherwise, the aliens will adjust the amount of research mission attempts depending on XCOM’s threat level and the amount their resources. If the aliens do not recognize XCOM as a real threat, they will be content with the tech they are currently fielding, thus will not carry out research missions; but as XCOM is perceived to be more threatening, the aliens will try to keep up via research as much as they can afford it.

UFO Pool:

  • Scout: Always in pool
  • Raider: Aliens must have > 75 / 54 / 30 resources
  • Abductor: Aliens must have > 125 / 90 / 50 resources
  • Terror Ship: Aliens must have > 250 / 180 / 100 resources
  • Assault Carrier: Aliens must have > 300 / 216 / 120 resources

Harvest

A UFO will fly NOE and land in a randomly selected country. An unimpeded harvest grants the aliens resources, which will allow the aliens to field UFOs in greater quantity and quality.

If the targeted country has a satellite, there is a 12.5% chance per XCOM threat level (up to 50% at level 4) that the aliens will re-roll its target once and will pay a price in the process. This represents the power projected by a strong XCOM forcing the aliens to settle for sub-optimal harvests. As the aliens' first choice for harvest is randomized, more satellite coverage means a higher chance that the aliens need to waste resource to even start a harvest mission.

The aliens' tendency to perform harvest missions is the exact reverse to their tendencies to send out research missions. If the aliens have minimal resources (0/4), then a maximum amount of harvest mission is attempted (three per month); if they have too many resources (4/4), then no harvest will occur. Otherwise, the aliens will harvest more when they are shorter on resource. Additionally, the aliens also prefer doing harvests when they are not threatened; in the presence of a strong XCOM they prefer more aggressive missions instead.

UFO Pool:

  • Transport: always in pool
  • Harvester: Aliens must have > 75 resources
  • Raider: Aliens must have > 125 resources
  • Scout: Aliens must have > 225 resources

Note that the UFO pool for harvest missions becomes less threatening the more resources the aliens have, and isn't affected by higher Alien Research as others do.

Bomb

A UFO will fly NOE and around the target area bombing civilians. This mission will cause a lot of panic if successful. Uniquely, this is one of the few NOE mission types that doesn't land, and the only way to completely stop it is to shoot the bombing UFO down; although, damaging the UFO will reduce the amount of panic created at the end of its mission. An unfettered air raid generates 8 panic in the country raided. An additional 2 panic is added, if the UFO is ignored.

The aliens will send out more bombing missions if they have spare resource and perceive XCOM as a threat. With maximum resource and threat level they will conduct three bombing missions per month. The only exception to this trend is when the aliens have maximum resources and completely unthreatened, in which case they will divert more of all those resources into bombing missions, spawning four per month instead.

UFO Pool:

  • Fighter: Always in pool
  • Destroyer: Aliens must have > 75 / 54 / 30 resources
  • Battleship: Aliens must have > 175 / 126 / 70 resources

Abduction

An Abductor will fly NOE to the target area and generate an Abduction site. A successful abduction will increase panic in the country by 25, and panic across the continent by 20 (in all difficulties but normal). Thwarting the abduction will decrease panic in the country by 2.

The true motivations behind these abductions are not made clear; it doesn't increase alien research, nor does it gain them any resources, and it certainly isn't the most efficient way to spread panic if it's about strategic warfare.

In many ways abduction is the least aggressive mission type; perhaps due to this, the aliens will scale back on abduction attempts if they feel threatened by XCOM. But the aliens still dispatch more abduction missions if they have more resources, up to a maximum of 5 per month while unthreatened with max resources. Conversely, if the aliens are short on resources, and deem XCOM to be a priority, only a minimal 2 abductions per month is attempted.

Terrorize Populace

This is a double sortie mission: At first, a Terror Ship will fly NOE and hover over the target nation scouting and planning for the actual mission. After a week or two an Assault Carrier will fly NOE to the target area and finally generate a Terror site. This means anyone with satellite coverage and interested in stopping the mission will have plenty of time to set up, though actually executing that is a different matter entirely.

The aliens will terrorize the most panicked nation adjacent to an alien base roughly 85% of the time, seeking to push them over the edge. Terror missions increase panic by +3 in the targeted country/+1 continent-wide per civilian killed regardless of XCOM performance, so these missions are always likely to see some benefit for the aliens. Losing or ignoring the mission, however, will cause the immediate construction of an Alien Base in the country, and increase panic continent-wide by 20.

There are only two ways to completely foil this kind of terrorism: by saving every single civilian during the engagement, or by shooting down the Assault Carrier before it could even deploy. Neither of these scenarios are likely to happen, and will probably be cost prohibitive to even try. Only an exceptionally advanced and exceedingly experienced XCOM can pull either option off agreeably. Otherwise the best a commander can do is to minimize the damage and make up for it elsewhere.

Nonetheless, terror missions are quite costly for the aliens as well. In fact, they cannot even afford it when they have the minimal level of resources. Otherwise they will always conduct one such mission per month, at the very least. In the presence of a threatening XCOM, the aliens will try to scrounge up enough resource to deploy a second terror mission per month. This means unfortunate commanders may see four terror missions near the turn of the month, as the scheduled missions are stacked at the end of the current month and beginning of the next. Though one can prevent such an onslaught by depriving the aliens of resources which they desperately need for this kind of strategy.

Shooting down the forward scouting Terror Ship doesn't actually hinder the scheduled mission in any way. However, it's a lot easier to achieve, and it forces the aliens to pay dearly in resource cost for each such Terror attack they perform. In addition, it will grant XCOM a lot of looted resource and battlefield experience if the downed terror ship is successfully raided. It may not stop the looming terror attack, but it may very well help in the future.

Infiltrate

A Battleship and Transport will fly around the target area, followed by an Overseer inserting in to the target city. This mission will cause the target country to leave XCOM immediately if successful. Note that the final Overseer can only be detected if XCOM has the Hyperwave Decoder, so without one the country will appear to leave for no reason.

This is a very expensive option for the aliens, and as such they can only afford it with maximal resource available. And even then, the aliens won't yet try if XCOM is perceived to be too threatening, being too focused on hunting down XCOM satellites instead.

Retaliate

This is a special mission. An UFO will fly to your main base or to one of your interceptor bases and immediately start an XCOM Base Defense mission or an Air Base Defense mission.

Aliens usually send an Assault Carrier to main base assaults. The aliens can only field XCOM Base Defenses if they have a lot of resources and they consider XCOM a high threat; specifically, for every 3 months (not necessarily in a row) that the aliens are at maximum threat level (4) and maximum resource level (4), an XCOM Base Defense will spawn.

If the aliens win a base defense it will damage resources and kill personnel - but it is not the end of the game, and can be recovered from. XCOM will lose the following resources on a failure:

  • 450-550 cash
  • 50-60 alloys
  • 50-60 elerium
  • 100-110 meld
  • 20-30 scientists (capped to 1/3 of current staff)
  • 20-30 engineers (capped to 1/3 of current staff)
  • all alien captives
  • interceptor damage

For Air Base assaults, aliens will send an Overseer. The cost of failure of these missions is the destruction and/or severe damage of all stationed interceptors. Air Base Defenses are much cheaper, and have a chance to trigger every month that Aliens have at least threat level 3 and resource level 3. Air Defenses missions only begin spawning after XCOM constructs its first Firestorm interceptor.

Command Overwatch

This is a special mission. An Overseer will fly low around the target area. This mission does not do anything for the aliens, and its only purpose is to allow XCOM the opportunity to shoot down an Overseer to continue the story.

Mission Table

At the beginning of each month, aliens plan all missions to be carried out that month based on their current resource level and perceived XCOM threat level. Most monthly missions are directly dependent upon these two variables, with two exceptions: Command Overwatch and Retaliation.

As mentioned previously, once three (3) months have past (not necessarily in a row) in which the aliens have both high resources (>3) and maximal threat (4), a Retaliation mission targeting XCOM headquarters will spawn at some point in the month; strikes against XCOM interceptor bases occur more frequently, with a chance starting at (3) resources and (3) threat once XCOM has constructed it's first Firestorm Interceptor. Command Overwatch, on the other hand, occurs in one random country anywhere on the globe, 2-3 times per month, starting when the Hyperwave Relay is first built.

Resource Level is proportional to the Aliens current resources at the beginning of the new month. Threat Level is based on the total threat at the end of the previous month.

The following table indicates which missions the aliens will run given the derived Resource and Threat levels.

Threat 0 Threat 1 Threat 2 Threat 3 Threat 4
Resources 0 3.5 Abduction
3 Scout
3 Harvest
3.5 Abduction
3 Scout
3 Harvest
0.5 Hunt
3 Abduction
3 Scout
3 Harvest
1 Hunt
2.5 Abduction
3 Scout
3 Harvest
1.5 Hunt
1 Bomb
2 Abduction
3 Scout
3 Harvest
2 Hunt
2 Bomb
Resources 1 4.5 Abduction
1 Terror
3 Scout
3 Harvest
4 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
3 Scout
2 Harvest
0.5 Hunt
0.5 Bomb
3.5 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
3 Scout
2 Harvest
1 Hunt
1 Bomb
3 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
3.5 Scout
2 Harvest
1.5 Hunt
1.5 Bomb
2.5 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
3.5 Scout
2 Harvest
2 Hunt
2 Bomb
Resources 2 5 Abduction
1 Terror
4 Scout
2 Harvest
5 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
4 Scout
2 Harvest
1 Hunt
1 Bomb
4.5 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
4 Scout
2 Harvest
1 Hunt
1 Bomb
4 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
5 Scout
2 Harvest
2 Hunt
2 Bomb
3.5 Abduction
2 Terror
2 Research
5 Scout
1 Harvest
2 Hunt
2 Bomb
Resources 3 5 Abduction
1 Terror
4 Scout
2 Harvest
1 Bomb
5 Abduction
1 Terror
1 Research
5 Scout
1 Harvest
1 Hunt
2 Bomb
5 Abduction
1 Terror
2 Research
5 Scout
1 Harvest
2 Hunt
2 Bomb
4.5 Abduction
2 Terror
2 Research
5 Scout
1 Harvest
3 Hunt
3 Bomb
4 Abduction
2 Terror
2 Research
5 Scout
1 Harvest
3 Hunt
3 Bomb
Resources 4 5 Abduction
1 Terror
3 Research
5 Scout
4 Bomb
1 Infiltrate
5 Abduction
1 Terror
3 Research
5 Scout
1 Hunt
3 Bomb
1 Infiltrate
5 Abduction
1 Terror
3 Research
5 Scout
2 Hunt
3 Bomb
1 Infiltrate
5 Abduction
2 Terror
3 Research
5 Scout
3 Hunt
3 Bomb
1 Infiltrate
4.5 Abduction
2 Terror
3 Research
6 Scout
4 Hunt
3 Bomb

See also

Head red 2.png Long War: Aliens
Aliens

Alien Life FormsAlien MissionsAlien DeploymentAlien ArtifactsAlien ResearchAlien ResourcesUFOsXCOM Threat