Rank

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This article is about the ranks an X-COM soldier can achieve, for alien ranks see Alien Ranks

Rank represents the soldier's position within the hierarchy of soldiers. The higher the rank, the more command the soldier can exert over his or her subordinates. It does not always equate to the soldier's combat ability.

In the X-COM world, rank is primarily a conciliatory tool to reassure the lower ranks during times of strife, and also as a cheerleader during times of success. High ranked officers will offer a morale boost when they are taken into battle. Their very presence reduces morale loss when there are injuries or casualties, and offer a boost in morale when aliens are killed.

The reverse is true for when officers are killed. The higher the rank of the officer that is killed, the greater the morale loss, which will accelerate the chance of soldiers panicking or going berserk.

Because of the value of the higher ranks, you may find it useful for your highest ranked officer(s) to act as a Rear Commander and place them in a position of safety during the battle.

Rookie promotion

The most important promotion a soldier can have is the promotion from Rookie to Squaddie. Once that happens, they can be promoted to any of the higher ranks given the right conditions.

Rookies advance to Squaddie by obtaining any form of combat experience, with the exception of throwing experience. This type of promotion happens before the higher promotions, and is not shown on the promotion list after debriefing.

Actions that qualify towards Squaddie promotion are:

  • Hitting a target
Shooting things with guns, hitting them with melee weapons, or blowing them up with grenades. HE and stun explosives count whether they connect directly or otherwise. Smoke/incendiary/proximity explosives do not, and neither does shooting scenery. You don't have to deal damage so long as the bullet hits a unit.
  • Reacting
Reacting and shooting at an enemy during their turn. Doesn't matter whether the shot connects.
  • Psi attacks
Doesn't matter whether they succeed or not.
  • Bravery checks
Having little enough morale that panicking is possible, but keeping under control regardless.

Rookies can jump straight to Sergeant rank if there is room for the promotion.

Higher promotions

Your soldiers advance to higher ranks with their "promotion score", which is assessed after each battle. Soldiers with the highest score become promoted, assuming you have enough ranks to justify the promotion.

The promotion score depends on soldier stats and mission/kill counts, it is calculated as follows:

 promotion_score = 2*Health + 2*Energy + 4*Reactions + 4*Bravery + 3*TUs
                 + 6*FireAcc + MeleeAcc + ThrowAcc + Strength + 10*Missions_count + 10*Kills_count
                 + PsiSkill>0?(PsiStrength+2*PsiSkill):0

When there is a free position in a certain rank, the soldier with the highest promotion score of the rank below is promoted.

It is worth noting that once a soldier has been handed a rank above rookie, they can continue to be promoted even if they do not leave the base and other soldiers surpass their promotion score.

UFO: Enemy Unknown / X-COM: UFO Defense

Rank Notes
Commander XCom1 rank6 Commander.GIF Only one allowed over all X-COM Bases, requires at least 30 soldiers in all bases.
Colonel XCom1 rank5 Colonel.GIF Most experienced Captain is promoted to Colonel if opening present. 1 Colonel for 23 soldiers, limit of 10.
Captain XCom1 rank4 Captain.GIF Most experienced Sergeant is promoted to Captain if opening present. 1 Captain for 11 soldiers, limit of 22.
Sergeant XCom1 rank3 Sergeant.GIF Most experienced Squaddie is promoted to Sergeant if opening present. 1 Sergeant for 5 soldiers, limit of 50.
Squaddie XCom1 rank2 Squaddie.GIF Perform any action that qualifies towards promotion, may not be given with high troop counts.
Rookie XCom1 rank1 Rookie.GIF Starting rank for all new recruits.

X-COM: Terror From the Deep

TFTD uses equivalent numbers, but follows traditional naval ranks rather than army ones. This results in Captain becoming top rank, since it is a senior grade in naval service, as opposed to a junior one in the ground and air forces.

Rank Notes
Captain XCom2 rank6 Captain.GIF Only one allowed over all X-COM Bases, requires at least 30 aquanauts in all bases.
Commander XCom2 rank5 Commander.gif Most experienced Lieutenant is promoted to Commander if opening present. 1 Commander for 23 aquanauts, limit of 10.
Lieutenant XCom2 rank4 Lieutenant.gif Most experienced Ensign is promoted to Lieutenant if opening present. 1 Lieutenant for 11 aquanauts, limit of 22.
Ensign XCom2 rank3 Ensign.gif Most experienced Able Seaman is promoted to Ensign if opening present. 1 Ensign for 5 aquanauts, limit of 50.
Able Seaman XCom2 rank2 Able Seaman.gif Perform any action that qualifies towards promotion, may not be given with high troop counts.
Seaman XCom2 rank1 Seaman.gif Starting rank for all new recruits.

Morale Loss

When a ranking officer is killed, the effect of morale loss on all remaining squad mates will be scaled up a certain percentage based on the officer's rank. The adjustments are as follows:

Rank Adjustments
Rookie/Squaddie 0%
Sergeant +20%
Captain +30%
Colonel +50%
Commander +75%

As an example, if the death of a rookie/squaddie causes a soldier to lose 10 morale points, the death of a sergeant will cause this soldier to lose 12 morale points, while a colonel will cause a 15 point loss.

Note that values are rounded down to an integer, so losing a commander in the last example will cause a 17 morale loss, not 17.5.

See Also

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