Morale

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Your soldiers' Morale scores determine whether they will panic or go berserk in the midst of a bad situation. Morale for all units is set at 100 at the start of each mission, and can rise or fall depending on events which occur during combat.

A high Bravery score will reduce the amount of Morale lost due to bad events, and the presence of a high-ranking officer on a mission can reduce Morale penalties as well. The loss of a high-ranking officer can in turn produce large Morale penalties.

When a unit's Morale drops below 50, there is a chance it will panic or go berserk.

Value Ranges

All units, alien and friendly, start with a Morale of 100 at the beginning of combat. Morale can never go higher than 100 or lower than 0 -- but if it falls below 50, a unit may panic or go berserk which will cause it to rise by 15 points.

When morale is between 100-50 units will function normally, but between 49-0 there is an increasing chance of panic or berserk, with a 100% chance when morale is at 0.

Events which Affect Morale

  • Own unit killed - surviving units lose 0-35 points, dependent on unit bravery, squad leadership, and rank of lost soldier. Applies even if your soldier was mind-controlled by aliens when killed.
  • Own unit knocked unconscious - no effect on squad morale
  • Own unit zombified - no effect on squad morale! (however, you must understand that zombification is a completely separate process from being hit, being hurt, and being killed! You can be zombified AND killed by a Chryssalid, or just zombified. Being zombified and KILLED does the same morale loss as being killed.)
  • Own unit hurt - no effect on squad morale, unit hurt loses points according to this equation: Morale Loss = INT( (110 - Bravery) * Health Loss / 100)
  • Friendly fire hit - no effect beyond injury morale loss in the soldier hit
  • Friendly fire kill - squad loses normal amount, soldier loses 20 extra points adjusted only by leadership. This works both ways; MC three aliens and have them kill three others, and the morale of their entire squad will be in the mid 40s afterwards. It's possible to make Sectoid/Ethereal Leaders or Mutons panic if you understand how morale works, which is also why base Bravery is so important as well.
  • Alien hit/hurt - no effect on your morale
  • Alien killed - squad gains 10 points, adjusted by squad leadership; soldier gains 20 extra points adjusted by squad leadership
  • Panic/berserk - soldier gains 15 points flat
  • Psionic Panic attack - A successful attack causes the target to lose 110 points, less bravery (e.g., a unit with 40 bravery would lose 70 points); chance of success is dictated by Psionic formula
  • Psionic Mind Control attack - Successful mind control leaves a soldier at 0 Morale. Thus, the turn after Mind Control, they always suffer Panic/Berserk, and end that turn with 15 Morale. This also makes them likely to Panic/Berserk the next turn, as well. (Mind Control - the gift that keeps on giving!)
  • Pain killer administered from a Medi-Kit - can restore Morale equal to the amount of Health a soldier has lost

Effect of Bravery

The base morale a unit loses when a comrade dies is dependent on the surviving unit's Bravery as follows ((110-Bravery)/5):

BraveryMorale Loss
0122
1020
2018
3016
4014
5012
6010
708
806
904
1002
11020

1 A soldier having a bravery of 0 is impossible, except when editing game files.
2 Only tanks and certain aliens can have a Bravery of 110.

Officers

Having officer on a mission helps in two ways -- they reduce morale loss from negative events, and increase Morale gained from positive events. Your highest-ranking (surviving) officer's Morale modifier is always used -- so if a Colonel is killed, and the next-highest-ranking soldier in the squad is a Sergeant, morale loss from the Colonel's death will still be reduced by 10%.

However, losing an officer produces higher than usual Morale losses, as shown in the table below below. Losing rookies, squaddies and tanks cause normal amounts of lost Morale.

                          Leadership    Death morale
                            bonus          loss
Tank, Rookie, or Squaddie     0%           x1.0
Sergeant                     10%           x1.2
Captain                      15%           x1.3
Colonel                      25%           x1.5
Commander                    50%           x1.75

Morale loss on personnel death equals:

 Base morale loss x (100% - Leadership bonus) = adjusted morale loss (drop fractions)
 Adjusted morale loss x Rank modifier = final morale loss (drop fractions)

Since the loss of a Colonel produces Morale loss 1.5 times that of a normal unit, the effective Morale lost in the above scenario will be 1.5 (for the Colonel's death) * 0.9 (for the surviving Sergeant's modifier), for a modified Morale penalty of 1.35 times normal.

The actual numbers for the death of a Rookie / Squaddie dependent on the highest ranking officer in the squad are

Bravery None Sgt Cpt Col Cmd
10 / FF 20 18 17 16 13
20 18 16 15 14 12
30 16 14 13 12 10
40 14 12 12 11 9
50 12 10 10 9 8
60 10 9 8 8 6
70 8 7 6 6 5
80 6 5 5 4 4
90 4 3 3 3 2
100 2 1 1 1 1

If the death has been a "friendly fire" incident, then the killer gets an additional penalty equal to that of a soldier with minimum bravery.

To illustrate, consider the following tragic event: While performing weapon cleaning duty during a ceasefire in an otherwise successful battle, under the not so watchful supervision of their commanding captain, not one but three(!) xcom-troopers (bravery 40) - to the horrors of their watching comrades (bravery 10) - each happend to accidentally shoot a bystanding rookie. The squad was completely demoralized, the shooters (morale 100-17-3*13 = 44) understandably more so than the rest of the squad (morale 100-3*17 = 49). They lasted about 8 turns (1/12% = 8.33) while the others resisted for an average of 50 turns (1/2% = 50) before finally succumbing to panic. At the funeral, the captain hit the right tone when stating that "... while their death is a tragedy, their courrage will live on in us." And indeed, after this encouraging speech, most of the squad (88.765%) and even the shooters (50.328%) felt better (+10 bravery) than before.

Officer Tactics

  • Losing an officer (higher rank) has a greater effect on the whole squad's morale than losing a rookie. LZ's are notorious for ambushes and extreme risk. So logically, your highest-ranking soldiers should never be in the front line of deployment.
  • By using XcomUtil, you can choose to place you your officers in the rear of the transport, and your rookies in the front.
  • Some people extend this tactic and keep the commanding officer in the Skyranger for the entire battle. They're safest there, and with a Blaster Launcher or Mind Probe they can still contribute to the combat. See Rear Commander for more details.
  • Aliens are subject to the same Morale rules as X-COM units. Targeting alien officers first (eg. with a Blaster Bomb to the UFO bridge) will help create widespread panic among the remaining aliens.

Panicking and Berserking

If a unit's Morale drops below 50, there is a chance that it will panic or go berserk before the next turn.

Formula: 

% Panic Chance = 100 - (2 x Morale)

Examples:

If a soldier has a Morale rating of 40, they have a 20% chance of panicking on the next turn.

Morale of 0 guarantees a panic or berserk.

If a unit has less then 50 Morale on a given turn but does not panic, they will gain
bravery experience instead.

There are three types of "Panic"; a freeze, a flee, and a Berserk, with an theoretically equal chance (33%) of any one of these being triggered. The first two may or may not cause the unit to drop weapons held in the hand slots, while the third causes them to fire wildly (often at a specific unit standing nearby, which you'd best hope to be hostile!). A fleeing unit may run to a location up to 15 tiles to the south and/or up to 15 tiles to the east, never north and/or west.

After a unit has performed a panic action, it will gain 15 morale points, but have no TUs until its next turn (making it quite vulnerable).

Note: Berserk soldiers temporarily get 255 TUs or slightly under that. This has been observed in the DOS and CE versions as well as TFTD -- however it's not entirely clear if this happens for the Playstation or Amiga versions. Firing costs are still based on the affected unit's max TUs, even if current TUs are well beyond that. In effect this allows a berserk unit to fire more rounds in a turn than is normally possible.

Aliens Panicking and Berserking

The effects of aliens getting into a state of panic or going berserk are similar to the player's side but with a small difference in when it occurs.

For the player's side, the panic/berserk effects kick in just before the start of the turn. For the aliens side, the effects appear to occur during the turn as each unit is taken control of by the AI.

When an alien panics/berserks, the player is usually not informed of this. The player however may find unarmed aliens wandering about or the odd gun lying on the ground. Mysterious gunshot noises that don't appear to be aimed at your side or civilians (if present) are a good indication that one of the aliens has just gone berserk.

On more severe panic/berserk attacks, the player will get a dialog box informing that the alien has panicked or gone berserk. Unless you're using psionics, this is a fairly good indicator that the majority of the alien's squad has been killed, because the cumulative killing of aliens is what will cause their morale to drop sufficiently for a panic to occur.

Additional side benefits that accompany the dialog box would be the revelation of the panicking unit's rank, as well as a hint of where the panicking may be located by having the camera briefly centering on it. This may even reveal other aliens in the panicking aliens' immediate area if the fog of war has been lifted previously.

Psionic Panicking Attacks

There are two kinds of psionic attacks aliens and Psi-trained soldiers can use: Control Unit and Panic Unit. Panic Unit attacks are more likely to succeed. A successful psionic panicking attack immediately subtracts:

    110 - Bravery

points from the target's Morale score. Thus if the target is a towering hero (100 Bravery) only 10 Morale is subtracted; if the target is a cowering worm (10 Bravery, the minimum possible), 100 Morale is subtracted. For alien Bravery stats, see Alien Stats.

Repeated attacks may be needed to bring a unit's Morale below 50, where it has a chance of panicking.

Morale Loss and Bravery Increases

When a unit's Morale is below 50 but it does not panic or go berserk, it gains "bravery training". Each successfully-resisted panic roll gives the unit an additional ~9% chance of gaining +10 Bravery at the end of the mission, up to a 100% chance after 11 successful resists. See Bravery for more details.

See Also

UFO Badge X-Com: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense
Soldiers:Time UnitsEnergy (Stamina)HealthBraveryReactionsFiring AccuracyThrowing Accuracy
StrengthPsionic StrengthPsionic SkillMelee AccuracyStunMoraleRankFatal Wounds