Missions (LWR)

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In General

When a mission appears in the Mission Control room you have a certain amount of time to deploy to it before it disappears. Noting that you can only engage in one mission at a time and it takes time to travel to and from missions.

Any soldier lost will have a 10% chance to lose each piece of equipment (from 40% in LW 1.0).

Squad Sizes

Soldiers M-F.png

Squad sizes in Long War Rebalance vary depending on the mission type. Unlike, LW 1.0, they can not be increased through Officer Training School upgrades.

The We are Legion (#25) Second Wave option allows bringing 2 additional soldiers on all Covert Op missions.

Mission Type Squad Size
UFO raids, DLC Missions, and Base Assaults 8
Abduction, Council, Terror, and Covert Op Data Recovery missions 6
Covert Op Extractions 2
Temple Assault 7-10*

* 1 additional soldier can be brought for every 5 council nations still supporting XCOM.


Reward for Succeeding: credits/scientists/engineers/soldiers (see below), -1 panic in country, and -1 panic in continent (modified by Campaign Length)

Penalty for Failure: +5 alien research, +3 country panic, and +3 continent panic (modified by current country panic) (modified by Campaign Length)

Expiration Time: 12 hours

Alien Abductions are generated by an Abductor and are an Alien Mission that occurs a few times a month (depending on Campaign Length) but decreases in frequency by 10% (multiplicatively) each month that passes.

Each time the aliens successfully land an abductor on an abduction mission XCOM will be notified, regardless of where in the world they land. The aliens will attempt 2-3 abductions at a single time so abductions can be quite taxing on XCOM's roster and they may need to bring in fatigued soldiers to complete all missions.

The maps for each abduction will be chosen randomly, but smaller maps will be filtered out of more dense abductions.

The density of the abduction is determined on the Light(0) -> Moderate(1) -> Heavy(2) -> Swarming(3) scale as follows:

Density = 1 + Rand(2) - Rand(3) + Act of Game (0-2) + City Panic(out of 100)/33
If density is Light(0) or Swarming(3), 75% of the time push the density back to Moderate(1) or Heavy(2), respectively.
Highest density is capped at Moderate(1) for the first month and Heavy(2) for the 2nd month

The number of aliens at the abduction site depends on the density of the abduction and other factors:

Number of Aliens Condition
8-10 Light Abduction
10-12 Moderate Abduction
12-14 Heavy Abduction
14-16 Swarming Abduction
+1 Every 4 months
+1/2/3 Alien Resources exceed 40/60/80%

An abduction which is not stopped by XCOM causes panic in the target country and continent, and provides the aliens with additional research. The panic increase is higher if the abduction was conducted in a country with less panic.

Panic in Abduction Country Country and Continent Panic Amount
0-20 +9
21-40 +6
41-100 +3
Campaign Length x2 / x1 / x0.5 / x0.334


Completing an abduction mission has a 25% chance to grant a reward of credits, scientists, engineers, or a soldier, each with the following amounts:

Reward Amount
Credits (40 + Rand(20)) * (1 + month/10) * Abduction Density (1.0/1.2/1.5/1.9) * Campaign Length (2.0/1.0/0.5/0.334)
Scientists All: 2x (40% chance for +1)
Moderate or Denser: 40% chance for +1
Heavy or Denser: 40% chance for +1
Swarming: 40% chance for +1
Chances multiplied by Campaign Length (2.0/1.0/0.5/0.334)
Final Result increased by 10% per month
Minimum of 1
Engineers All: 2x (40% chance for +1)
Moderate or Denser: 40% chance for +1
Heavy or Denser: 40% chance for +1
Swarming: 40% chance for +1
Chances multiplied by Campaign Length (2.0/1.0/0.5/0.334)
Final Result increased by 10% per month
Minimum of 1
Soldier Soldier Rank = Rand[2 * Abduction Density (1/2/3/4)]
Clamped between Private First Class (0) and the current highest rank on the roster (0-7)

Note that soldier rewards are NOT modified by campaign length to accommodate for more soldiers lost on longer campaigns.

UFO Sites

See also: Crashed UFO (EU2012)
Expiration timer: 36 hours.

When a UFO is shot down and not destroyed, a UFO Crash Site mission becomes available. Completion of a UFO Crash Site mission rewards the player with the possibility of recovering valuable components from the UFO; however, a crashed UFO is now even more likely to have destroyed artifacts.

See also: Landed UFO (EU2012)
Expiration timer: 16 hours.

Some UFO missions will involve a landing. Whether or not this will be the case can often be determined by looking at the UFO's altitude (NOE altitude often means it will land). If you allow the UFO to land it will either generate a terror mission, an abduction, or simply a landing site. It may actually be in your interests to let NOE-flying UFOs land, as (a) it will save your interceptor craft some damage, and (b) it will net you a lot more salvage, including intact flight computers and power sources. On the other hand, it may be on a bombing mission. Successfully assaulting a landed UFO will also stop the alien mission from being completed.

Note that in either Crashes or Landings, the Command pod of aliens will now rarely, if ever, be on the bridge (and for the Scout, it might be 'slightly outside'). This is so you won't know exactly where this pod is, and thus won't be able to prepare a blitzkrieg to take it out.

After a UFO mission the player has the option to send additional salvage teams (at a cost). They will yield additional alloy and elerium with a random cost proportional to the size of the resource haul.

Terror Sites

Reward for Succeeding: credits per civilian saved (modified by Campaign Length) (+10% per month), reduced country and continent panic (possibly increased panic if not enough civilians saved) (modified by Campaign Length)

Penalty for Failure: Loss of Country and 10 panic across the continent (modified by Campaign Length)

Expiration Time: 8 hours

During Terror Missions you are required to eliminate all hostiles and save as many of the 18 civilians that you can. Aliens, who are active, but can see no XCOM soldiers, will target civilians. As well, each inactivated pod will have a chance to kill multiple civilians every turn that passes. This means that XCOM should try to engage all pods quickly and stay within sight of active aliens as much as possible if they want to minimize casualties. This can lead to some unwinnable situations though, so the balance between being aggressive and saving civilians vs being cautious and saving XCOM will likely vary mission to mission.

Terror missions will automatically generate 15 panic in the target country, and 4 panic across the same continent. However, each civilian saved will decrease the panic generated by the mission by 1 in the target country and 0.3 across the continent. Additionally, each civilian saved in a country that has NOT left the Council of Nations will award 20 credits. Both the panic alterations and bonus credits are modified by campaign length (2.0/1.0/0.5/0.33). The credit reward increases by 10% each month.

A Terror Site which is not stopped by XCOM causes the target country to immediately leave the Council of Nations and generates 10 continental panic (modified by Campaign Length).

Terror Sites are generated by a UFO, so you can prevent a terror mission by shooting down the incoming UFO before it can create the terror site.

The number of Terror Missions decrease in frequency by 10% (multiplicatively) each month that passes.

The first Terror Site will contain:

3 Chryssalids, 2 Chryssalids, 4 Zombies, 4 Zombies, and either 5 Floaters, Thinmen, or Mutons

Subsequent Terror Sites will contain

2 Chryssalids or 4 Zombies, 2 Chryssalids or 4 Zombies, + extra aliens

The number of aliens at the Terror Site is:

Number of Aliens Condition
2x 2 Chryssalids / 4 Zombies Base Amount
+8 Extra Aliens
+1 Every 4 months
+1/2/3 Alien Resources exceed 40/60/80%

After a certain number of terror missions, you make experience some missions that have fewer overall aliens but some high level aliens bosses.

Base Defense Missions

XCOM Base Defense

See also: XCOM Base Defense (EU2012)

This mission type makes a return. When the aliens have high resources AND consider you a high threat they will come for your base. Your base is assaulted by a UFO - typically a NOE altitude Assault Carrier, but it may have backup from other craft - which you can see coming and can shoot down, but it's extremely difficult: when the UFO alert/interception prompt appears, it will say "Warning! Warning! UFO vectoring to XCOM HQ!" on the lesser notifications on the lower-left of the screen. Shooting down that UFO will prevent the assault.

Like vanilla, you will get the chance to select and equip a squad for this mission. You select and equip 8 soldiers, of which a random 5 will be selected at the start. Additional soldiers from this pool will arrive as reinforcements, one automatically and further soldiers can arrive to replace losses. You'll also get the regular complement of Blueshirts, but armed with a random pair of items, which may be HE grenades, AP grenades, concussions, medikits, etc. Unlike vanilla, the reinforcements you get do not vary with Blueshirt casualties, only XCOM soldiers. Of the Blueshirts, there are Foundry projects that make them slightly better: one that allows them to equip spare weapons and armor.

The format of the mission is similar to the vanilla version: the aliens will drop in to the command center, followed by flyers in the back and drops in to the MEC bay and two waves in the forward access tunnels. Expect this mission to be very difficult, though the forces deployed can vary wildly based on RNG. However, always look around and check for the falling dirt to see if any waves are about to drop in the MEC Bay, particularly the upper areas at all four corners. Don't forget to count the enemies and your kills, so you don't move ahead to defend the access tunnels, just to get hit from behind by something.

Failing this mission does not mean the end of XCOM, however it is extremely damaging. The aliens will ransack your base, killing engineers and scientists and destroying cash before regular military arrive and bail you out. This mission can only happen once during a specific month, and can only occur after September.

If you succeed, any surviving Blueshirts will join your roster, retaining any XP they gained during the base defense. If you succeed base defense on your first try, another Base Defense mission is highly unlikely to occur.

XCOM Air Base Defense

In addition to assaulting your base, aliens can now go after your interceptor stations. These missions will only be launched after your air game becomes significantly strong (a Firestorm is built). It will generate similar to an abduction mission, with XCOM soldiers outfitting in the Skyranger as per usual. The map takes place in the previously multiplayer only Interceptor bay. This mission must be completed to avoid severe damage or destruction of your interceptors.

If the Hyperwave Relay is built, the mission notice on the approaching UFO will say "Retaliation". Be aware you will enter the area through one of the side tunnels in the center of the map, so odds are that there will be aliens in both wings, and can easily be flanked by a wandering pod due to this.

Unlike the XCOM Base Defense, the Air Base Defense mission will not only happen frequently (especially after the player has started fielding plasma weapons) but it is also MUCH less difficult than the standard Base Defense. On normal difficulty, often only 17 aliens spawn, and of those about half are Chryssalids. The other half is most commonly formed of Outsiders, Mechtoids and their complements of Sectoids and one or two Sectoid Commanders. Thin Men also spawn often in the earlier Air Defense missions.

A good strategy is to bring a Sniper, Jaeger or Scout equipped with In The Zone, a Rocketeer doubled up on Shredder Rockets, and a MEC with a Flamethrower. You should expect contact on your first turn of movement; sometimes an enemy will be in vision at spawn. Moving left is likely to trigger a pod of Chryssalids, which is actually what you want in this situation. As Chryssalids are fast-moving, group-oriented and dumb, they are likely to bunch up, forming an excellent target for your shredder Rocketeer. Your MEC can then use his Flamethrower on the group, killing most of the Chryssalids and panicking those who aren't killed. Your In The Zone Sniper can then dispatch the cowering, wounded scraps.

Council Missions

Expiration timer: 8 hours.

Council missions have also been modified, mostly to the tune of larger numbers of enemies, both seeded and airdropped. Airdrop spawns may be random, and include enemies other than Thin Men.

Site Recon

See also: Site Recon (EU2012)

The Chryssalid Hive is not exclusively populated by Shark-lids and free-roaming Chryssalids anymore. You may find other aliens have been invited to the party too. Keep an eye on your ammo and move your troops carefully. Unlike vanilla, think twice before skipping this mission lest you be punished for your negligence.

Target Extraction

See also: Extraction (EU2012)

Rescuing Peter Van Doorn will now add him to your roster. Just remember that it's not fair if he has all the fun.

Target Escort

See also: Escort (EU2012)

Escort Dr. Marazuki, Sgt. Carlock or Mr. Thorne to the Skyranger, while killing all hostiles.

Escorting Sgt. Carlock will now add him to your roster.

Asset Recovery

See also: Asset Recovery (EU2012)

Eliminate all hostiles and secure the asset.

Bomb Disposal

See also: Bomb Disposal (EU2012)

With the help of power nodes to gain time, find the Bomb and deactivate it.

DLC Missions


See also: Slingshot DLC (EU2012)

All missions have additional free-roaming aliens and random airdrop spawns.


See also: Progeny (EU2012)

All missions have additional free-roaming aliens and random airdrop spawns.

Exalt Covert Op Data Recovery

See also: Covert Data Recovery (EU2012)
Expiration timer: 48 hours.

These missions are similar to their vanilla equivalent. You field a squad of six and defend an encoder and transmitter. Comm arrays are available for your covert operative to hack. This mission will give a cash reward, and a bonus if the encoder is protected as well. Exalt reward for mission complete to 200 credits + 40meld

Exalt Covert Op Extraction

See also: Covert Extraction (EU2012)
Expiration timer: 48 hours.

In this mission type you are limited to only 2 soldiers and your Covert Operative. As such, you want to avoid getting in to a pitched battle with EXALT, so if you can, try to get your Covert Operative to the arrays, hack them and get out fast. Cash reward on completion. Exalt reward for mission complete 100 credits +30 meld


Exalt reinforcements to secure the Covert Operative will begin on turn 10 (or earlier) and last until 18.

There are 5 sets of reinforcements. Each set, when active will have a chance to spawn more Exalt reinforcements every turn until turn 18. Reinforcements automatically start on turn 10 (-1-2/-3 turns for classic/brutal/impossible). However, if the covert operative activates an array, it will automatically start a set of reinforcements 2 turns later (as early as turn 3). After turn 18 all reinforcements will stop.

Due to the sheer number of possible reinforcements, it is advised to NOT try to fight all of the reinforcements, but simply activate the relays and retreat.

Exalt Base Assault

See also: Exalt Base Assault (EU2012)

This mission is considerably tougher than it is in vanilla. The Exalt base is crawling with randomly generated elite EXALT squads. In addition you may find some elite aliens here as well.

Long War makes a tweak to the Hologlobe UI so that if a mission is outstanding, time acceleration will stop when interesting things like a soldier recovering from fatigue happens. This means you may want to avoid the final "discover" step on the Exalt base until you're ready to assault it to avoid this behavior triggering constantly even though you don't want it.

Raiding the Exalt base will grant substantial credit and 400 meld and several unique items. It will also decrease panic worldwide by 5.

Alien Base Assault

Reward for Succeeding: 1 Hyperwave Beacon, -10 Alien Research, Alien Aggression to 100%, 1 Fusion Core, 4 Alien Surgeries, 15 Alien Stasis Tanks, 10 Alien Foods, 2 Alien Entertainments

Penalty for Failure: No specific penalty -- though you will lose the entire squad as you cannot retreat from this mission

Expiration Time: N/A

Like in vanilla, story progression is nearly the same. But in the Long War, you will immediately lose 1 country on the first month, as the base is auto-generated at this time. Progress as normal to be able to develop the Skeleton Key, and then place a satellite over that country (or any others you lose along the way: they will also spawn bases) to locate it. With that in mind, you may want to either take your first Assault as soon as possible, as to face weaker aliens. That way, even if you do lose more countries, but don't want to risk soldiers attacking another Base, at least you can still progress with the storyline.

Like with UFOs, the commander will not necessarily be in the last room with the Hyperwave Beacon, so this isn't necessarily the best place to capture one like it is in vanilla.

Long War makes a tweak to the Hologlobe UI so that if a mission is outstanding, time acceleration will stop when interesting things like a soldier recovering from fatigue happens. This means you may want to delay putting a satellite over an alien country until you're ready to assault it to avoid this behavior triggering constantly even though you don't want it.

Raiding the alien base reduce panic in the country by 20, revert it to the Council, and drop panic around the continent by 5.

Note that each time you successfully raid an alien base the next alien base will be more heavily fortified with extra aliens:

Number of Alien Bases Raided Additional Aliens
1 A Monster pod
2 A large Heavy Floater pod
3 A large Muton Elite pod
4 A Sectopod pod
5 An Etheral pod

Overseer Crash Site

Also like vanilla, mostly the same, but also with the same difference: you may encounter multiple Overseer UFOs throughout a campaign. Possibly the only UFO where the CO pod is in the usual spot.

Temple Ship Assault

It's been a lengthy journey, but the end of the Long War is in sight!

The Temple Ship is near-identical to in vanilla: same enemy composition and positions as Enemy Within/Unknown, albeit with VASTLY increased health, stats, and gene mods (and size, for that extra player intimidation factor). You'll be able to bring up to 12 soldiers. Go in heavy, hit hard, and let nothing stand in your way. If you've survived EXALT and an Alien Base or two, you should be fine. Try to bring soldiers that specialize at bringing down singular powerful units and take them down one by one; you aren't going to be doing much (if any) ITZ sweeping.

At the end of the brutal road, in the Ethereal Cathedral awaits the Uber Ethereal, Lord of the Alien Collective. Has a lot of HP, and 200 or more will. Note that unlike vanilla, rushing the Uber Ethereal, as he will have 100% DR until all the Muton Elites and Ethereals around him have been killed.

Good luck, Commander.