Second Wave (EU2012)

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Second Wave is a game mode enabled with the fourth patch released for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Second Wave was initially unavailable to most players, but was partially accessible to modders who unlocked it manually through manipulation of the game's code. The developers subsequently prepared the full content for release with the help of modders who had discovered how to activate it and had tested its features, according to Jake Solomon.

Second Wave adds advanced gameplay options to increase the difficulty and randomness of the game, described below. The options are unlocked as the player wins on advanced Difficulty Levels.

Second Wave Options

Damage Roulette - Weapons have a much wider range of damage.

  • Does not apply to explosives.
  • Random damage range varies between 1 and the weapons' base damage + 50% (rounded down), a critical hit adds the base damage value to the previously calculated random damage. Example: an Assault Rifle with a 3 damage stat can deal up to 1-4 damage or 4-7 critical damage.

New Economy - The funding offered by individual Council members is randomized.

Not Created Equally - Rookies will have random starting stats.

  • Range of Will: 25~59 (normal 40), values will vary by increments of 2 to the lower 25 limit.
  • Range of Aim: 50~80 (normal 65), varies in increments of +5. Note that this is one way to make the Heavy class more useful in the endgame, at the expense of having to hire, screen and fire a lot of soldiers after getting the OTS New Guy perk.
  • Range of Movement: 11~14 (normally 12), 1/3 chance of getting 11, 1/3 chance for 12, 1/6 chance for 13, 1/6 chance for 14 movement.
  • All soldiers will have the same Health Points, value is defined by the difficulty level.

Hidden Potential - As a Soldier is promoted, their stats will increase randomly.

  • HP: Heavy has 60% chance per level of +1 HP, all other classes have 50%.
  • Will: same increase as without Hidden Potential (variable between 2 to 6). With OTS's Iron Will, all classes can gain up to 13 Will per rank.
  • Aim score raises depend on the soldier's class:
  • To manipulate this option to make soldiers with very high stats; save before the last action of a mission, and check the scores in the mission results screen of anyone who does gain a rank, and reload until you get the desired stats. Keeping some sort of logbook to write these down is ideal.
  • These values are taken from Nexusmods wiki

Normal Victory Unlocks

Red Fog - Any wounds taken in combat will degrade a soldier's stats for that mission.

  • -15 Aim with light wound (only extra Health Points from armor removed), -30 with heavy wound (soldier HPs).
  • Even 1 point of damage is considered as light wound, even though that HP is from armor.
  • Movement is impaired by wounds too.
  • Debuff is not cured with Medikit heal.

Absolutely Critical - A flanking shot will guarantee a critical hit.

  • Shots to flanked or exposed target has +100% crit chance, rather than +50%.
  • Hardened target has -100% chance to hit by critical, rather than -60%.
    • So it negates +100% from exposed penalty, but still 10% higher chance to be critically hit than normal. (where they has 60% - 50% = 10% resistance to crits.)
  • UNCONFIRMED - Does not affect aliens' chance to crit.

The Greater Good - The secret of psionics can only be learned by interrogating a psionic alien.

Marathon - The game takes considerably longer to complete.

  • This option perhaps brings the most change to overall gameplay, as storyline progression is affected directly by the changes to research time and facility construction.
  • Time for Research: x3.
  • Time for facilities building: x2 (i.e.: A Satellite Uplink now takes 28 days).
  • Cost of building items and facilities: x2 (including advanced materials such as Alien Alloys or Elerium).
  • You may want to try Marathon in Easy or Normal mode, as you'll need the additional funds (and the free satellite) to be able to manage Panic (doing so in Impossible with Marathon is very very hard: you might not be able to compensate fast enough with Abductions raising panic).
  • Days in Infirmary: x2.
  • Marathon don't work if tutorial is activated.
  • Item requirements for researches, Foundry upgrades, cost of soldiers, interceptor costs, OTS upgrade costs remains the same. For example, satellites still take 20 days to build.
    • This actually makes a strong case for making XCOM HQ in South America, as instant early interrogations to reduce other research times may put you ahead of the game. Or, if lucky with credits, in Europe, and building laboratories to also reduce time.
  • Alien progress is slowed after April. For example, first Mutons and Abductor UFOs show up in June, rather than May. Floaters and Large Scouts will still appear in the second month. For more details see Species Deployment.
    • In effect: Storyline progression is greatly slowed, both on XCOM's end, as well as that of the Aliens. But, as the experience requirements to level your soldiers remains the same, this means that you may end up with Colonels before you even see a Muton; the higher-level Abilities giving you a combative edge against the stronger aliens that appear later.
    • With the Slingshot DLC making a Muton capture in the 2nd month plausible, it's possible to get a massive lead on Plasma weaponry - if you focus Abduction/Council rewards on Scientists.

Classic Victory Unlocks

Results Driven - A country will offer less funding as its panic increases.

  • Funding is cut by 20% from countries with level 4 panic, 40% when it's level 5.

High Stakes - The rewards granted for stopping alien abductions are randomized.

  • This means the number of engineers or scientists (2 to 6) and amount of credits (about 100 to 300) you get is randomized. You can see the rewards before launching the mission.

Diminishing Returns - The cost of satellites increases with every one that is built.

  • This also increases engineer requirements for satellites.:* Cost goes up when you complete satellites, so try to make multiple satellites at once to save money.
  • Satellite build time is decreased.

More Than Human - The psionic gift is extremely rare.

  • You'll automatically gain one amongst the first 6 soldiers tested on the Psionic Lab. However, after the 1st Psionic soldier the odds of getting a 2nd or 3rd will be very low.

Impossible Victory Unlocks

Total Loss - Lose all gear from soldiers who die in combat.

War Weariness - Overall funding levels drop inexorably with every month that passes.

  • With enough time, funding levels will reach zero, leaving only the Gray Market and missions to raise credits.

E-115 - Elerium stores will degrade over time.

  • Elerium has half-life of 15 days, which means you lose approx. 4.52% of Elerium stock per day. (or 1% per approx. 5 hrs and 13 mins.)

Alternate Sources - The power requirements of all facilities are increased.

  • Power cost of all facilities are doubled. Base power (30 on classic) is doubled too, but Power Generators make same power.

Enemy Within Options

Enemy Within Second Wave options

Training Roulette - Randomize all class abilities sets. You may have Heavies with Lightning Reflexes and Opportunist. Does not affect base class abilities, nor abilities that require specific weapons (ex. Shredder Rocket). Is not confined to ranks, so a Corporal could get Low Profile or Sentinel.

Save Scum – Saving a game will reset the RNG seed for the shots.

Aiming Angles – The closer you come to flanking an enemy the more their cover bonus declines.

Normal Victory Unlocks

Mind Hates Matter - Genetically modified soldiers cannot undergo psi testing; gifted soldiers can never receive genetic modification.

Classic Victory Unlocks

Itchy Trigger Tentacle - Non-cover aliens with ranged attack (Mechtoid, Cyberdisc, Drone, Sectopod, and Ethereal) have a 50% chance of firing at your soldiers on sight.

See Also