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Turn-Based Tactics Eyestabber's guide to Xcom 2 WOTC mods

Eyestabber

Arcane
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PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
ITT I will do my best to share with you guys what I learned playing a couple campaigns of modded Xcom 2. My goal with this guide is to provide the reader with the tools to make his own selection of mods, while also providing some recommendations and insights of my own. This thread is NOT:
  • For people who think the nu-Xcom formula (two actions, pod activation, single base etc) is fundamentally terrible. All mods can do is (maybe) improve some aspects of gameplay that a veteran player might consider lackluster.
  • About cosmetics. Yes, you can have Miranda Lawson in your squad, you can make your guys look like stormtroopers and you can even give them the classic look of the Personal Armour. But cosmetics are very subjective and I won’t bother with more than a few pointers
  • Meant for people who don’t own all DLC for whatever reason. I won’t go into the DLC requirements of each mod as it would make the thread unreadable. Just keep in mind that WOTC is pretty much a new game and vanilla X2 mods will NOT work, unless otherwise specified.
How to use this guide:

I will start by providing some information on how to setup your game, following that with a copy of my AML generated modlist.txt. My list should be used as a foundation for your own list. Topics in this guide will match categories on my list, with Core Mods getting their own category, together with their dependencies. The idea is to keep things as modular and compatible as possible, so you will always be able to mix and match mods to suit your vision for the game.

Setup and general information

Xcom 2 + Wotc takes about 76 GB of Disk Space, with mods taking anything from 26 KB to 1.2 GB each. And YES, it should all go into your SSD, otherwise you risk minute long loading times. In my own setup everything runs smoothly thanks to a Samsung 960 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD, in my rig all missions load in a matter of seconds. But I’ve read nasty stuff about loading times with mods + conventional HDD.

Now that you installed the game and ran it once, download the Alternative Mod Launcher here and never use Firaxis' shitty launcher again. AML detects mod conflicts (with some false positives), sorts mods into categories, saves/loads mod lists, points out missing dependencies, AVOIDS bloating your INI file, does your dishes, fills your tax forms and probably has other features I never used. That last serious point is in fact something you should know: as you add and remove mods the INI files of the game might end up with duplicated entries that result in lower performance. AML fixes this issue to an extent, but you should know how to run an INI purge in case you need it. It’s simple, really:
  • Go into “C:\Users\[Name]\Documents\my games\XCOM2 War of the Chosen\XComGame\Config” and delete everything.
  • Disable all mods and restart the game
  • Quit the game, enable all mods again, restart
  • REDO ALL YOUR SETTINGS (mod and regular options)
  • Start/resume your campaign
An INI purge, along with verifying the integrity of the game’s files is the solution for 99% of all mod related issues. If the game hard crashes, go to C:\Users\[Name]\Documents\my games\XCOM2 War of the Chosen\XComGame\Logs and open the latest crash folder created by the game. Inside you’ll find a screenshot of your last screen before the crash and a .log file that might give you a clue on what’s going on with your game. This only happened to me once in a Raider Base Assault mission that was checking for Lost Spawns and crashing due to the “WOTC without The Lost” mod. VERY niche scenario, but once you have 100+ mods running weird interactions are bound to happen.

If the game soft crashes, open the console
AML enables it by default, but otherwise you should use the “-allowconsole” argument on AML or a desktop shortcut. While you’re at it, go ahead and paste “-review -noRedScreens -allowconsole –nostartupmovies” into Options -> Settings -> Active Arguments to save yourself some time
and type either “endbattle xcomwins true” OR “restartlevel” if you want to try your luck.

The last mod related problem that you might run into is a mod conflict. If you notice a massive drop in your game’s performance, chances are you have two conflicting mods. Even simple things like “show HP in numbers” conflicting with “additional icons” can result in your Geoscape becoming unbearably slow. Other causes for performance drops can include VRAM becoming insufficient due to too many modded units, CPU bottlenecks due to increased enemy count and your PC straight up exploding if you install the “idle suppression” mod.

The List

You can download my txt here or you can simply copy paste its contents into your own txt.
Metamod (6):
[WOTC] Choose Your Aliens ChooseYourAliens https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1782917748
X2WOTCCommunityHighlander v1.23.2 X2WOTCCommunityHighlander https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1134256495
[WOTC] Alien Hunters Community Highlander v1.23.2 DLC2CommunityHighlander https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2534737016
[WotC] Mod Config Menu ModConfigMenu https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=667104300
Remove Missing Mods for WotC WOTC_RemoveMissingMods https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1127050498
Better Second Wave Mod Support BetterSecondWaveSupport https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1149493976

Fixes (6):
[WOTC] Carry Unit Fix WotCCarryUnitFix https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1378606631
[WOTC] Ability Interaction Fixes AWCCostFixW https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1129878719
[WotC] Weapon Fixes WepUpgradeFix https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1737532501
Missing Packages Fix + Resource Missing_FX_Package_Resource https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1124064427
Reward Decks Refresher RewardDecksRefresher https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=665435869
[WOTC] Shredstorm Cannon Build Fix WOTC_ShredstormCannonBuildFix https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2257652871

UI improvements (21):
[WOTC] Detailed Soldier Lists DetailedSoldierListWOTC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1128263618
[WOTC] Cost-Based Ability Colors WOTC_CostBasedAbilityColors https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1289686596
[WOTC] Show All Class Counts WOTCShowAllClassCounts https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2167235854
[WOTC] Show Tech Rewards WOTC_ShowTechRewards https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2347354900
[WOTC] Tactical UI Kill Counter Redux WOTC_TacCounters https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2405013108
[WotC] Gotcha Again WOTCGotchaAgain https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1124288875
[WOTC] Extended Personnel Info ExtendedPersonnelInfo https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1458945379
WotC: robojumper's Squad Select robojumperSquadSelect_WotC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1122974240
Show More Buff Details ShowMoreBuffDetails https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=709499969
Yet Another F1 YetAnotherF1 https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=934236622
[WOTC] Quick Soldier Info QuickSoldierInfoWOTC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1125117314
Blackmarket Usage BlackmarketUsage https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=648410303
[WOTC] Additional Icons WOTCLootIndicator https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1127409511
[WotC] UI - Colored Ammo Bar WotC_UI_ColoredAmmoBar https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1949300408
[WotC] Better Tactical Zoom Out [WotC]BetterTacticalZoom https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1128430976
[WotC] Bond To Header BondToHeader https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1397839793
[WOTC] Better Armory Item Stats ArmouryCrit https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1489472552
[WOTC] New Target Icons WOTCNewTargetIcons https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1384631824
[WOTC] Passive Icons WOTCPassiveIcons https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1859762491
WOTC Show Enemies and Terrain on Mission Planning WOTC_ShowEnemiesOnMissionPlanning https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1183583781
[WOTC] Force Level Display ForceLevelDisplay https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1916761361

Stop Wasting My Time (13):
Narrative Control NarrativeControl https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1334298434
[WOTC] Faster Reload Animations FasterReloadAnimationsWOTC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1140240051
Instant Avenger Menus - WotC InstantAvengerMenus https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1124410215
Evac All - WotC EvacAll_WotC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1126395106
Still Stop Wasting My Time StillDontWasteMyTime https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1793418015
Stop Wasting My Time - WotC StopWastingMyTime https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=620600092
Overwatch All/Others WotC OverwatchAllWotC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1133368143
No Reveal Cinematics NoRevealCinematics https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1139866668
[WotC] Instant Loot WOTCInstantLoot https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1440233515
[WOTC] Less Overwatch Lock Ups! OverwatchLockupFix https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1276342555
Hush Little Chosen HushLittleChosen https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1137638215
[WOTC] No Enemy Intro NoEnemyIntro https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1872929750
Disable More VO DisableMoreVO https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=655124816

Partial Overhauls (11):
XCOM Psionics Overhaul V3 XCOMPsionicsOverhaulV3 https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2134513735
[WOTC] Mechatronic Warfare: Total SPARK Overhaul MechatronicWarfare https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1499767042
[WOTC] Chosen Weaponry Fix ChosenWeaponryFix https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1484778143
[WOTC] Cant Execute These Enemies CantExecuteTheseEnemies https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1214954839
Ruler Reactions Revised - WotC RulerReactionsRevised https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=860556301
[WotC] I'm the Commander here ImTheCommanderHere https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1129770962
[WOTC] Stabilize Me WotC_StabilizeMe https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1380625450
Skirmisher Rebalance SkirmisherRebalance https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1125671906
TLP: Unlocker TLP_UnlockEverything https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1535023259
[WOTC] New Promotion Screen by Default NewPromotionScreenbyDefault https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1124609091
[WOTC] Automated Loadout Manager WOTCAutomatedLoadoutSaver https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1882809714

Animation Improvements (4):
Cannon Animation Redux CannonAnimationRedux https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1541141667
[WOTC] Advent Flashlights [WOTC]AdventFlashlights https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1131572938
[WOTC] Cinematic Rapid Fire (and other abilities) CinematicRapidFireW https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1124794449
[WOTC] Impact FX PersistentImpacts https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1148304893

Cosmetics (7):
[WOTC] Iridar's Appearance Manager WOTCIridarAppearanceManager https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2664422411
Empty WOTC Deco Slots for XCOM Soldiers (+ Some other empty things) EmptyWOTCDecoSlotsforXCOMSoldiers https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1127014384
[WOTC] Invisible Parts For Hero Units InvisibleHeroUnitsBodyParts https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1125697296
Classic XCOM Armor ClassicXCOMArmor https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2057286397
[WOTC] Clean Soldier Generation IriSoldierGeneration https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1707030670
Add Part Names AddedPartNames https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=878158600
WOTC - Configurable Headshots LEBPortrait https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1273848330

LWOTC (4):
[WOTC] Revert Overwatch Rules Change WOTCRevertOverwatchRules https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1127539414
[WOTC] Community Promotion Screen X2WOTCCommunityPromotionScreen https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2550561145
Long War of the Chosen LongWarOfTheChosen https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2683996590
[WOTC] Accurate Situation Report AccurateSituationReport https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2567229533

A Better Series (7):
A Better Barracks: TLE ABetterBarracksTLE https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1537675645
A Better Campaign ABetterCampaign https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1143033221
A Better ADVENT: War of the Chosen ABetterADVENTWaroftheChosen https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1126623381
A Better Militia ABetterMilitia https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1447899590
ABA: Better DLC ABetterADVENTDLC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1481840594
A Better Campaign PLUS ABetterCampaignPLUS https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1143032623
A Better Chosen ABetterChosen https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1762615740

RPGO (9):
[WOTC] LW2 Secondary Weapons WOTC_LW2SecondaryWeapons https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1140434643
Primary Secondaries PrimarySecondaries https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1142234205
Musashis RPG Overhaul XCOM2RPGOverhaul https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1280477867
Beam Grenade Launcher BeamGrenadeLauncher https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1181681128
[WOTC] Extended Perk Pack WOTC_ExtendedPerkPack https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1546482849
Primary Grenade Launcher PrimaryGrenadeLauncher https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1673431726
WOTC Grimy Classes WOTCGrimyClasses https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1686990742
RPG Overhaul - Grimy's Classes Specializations RPGOverhaulGrimysClasses https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1714413550
RPG Overhaul - The New Perk Order RPGOverhaulSpecOrder https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1525727633

Map Packs (4):
Doctor Mandarbs Map-Pack (WotC) DoctorMandarbsMap-Pack(WotC) https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1124050097
Maps by Vozati [WotC Edition] MapsbyVozatiChosenEdition https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1132904326
Even More Maps! [WOTC] EvenMoreMaps![WOTC] https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1139192059
Missing Packages Fix - Parcels and Maps Edition MissingPackagesFix_ParcelsMaps https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1140305914

Pod Control (3):
[WOTC] Dynamic Pod Activation DelayedPodActivation https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1131829513
[WOTC] Yellow Alert Gameplay V2.0 YellowAlert https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1964595004
[WOTC] Increase Pod Size By Force Level WOTCIncreasePodSizeByForceLevel https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1550396115

Raider Factions (10):
Raider Faction Bases RaiderFactionBases https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1601260788
[WOTC] The Hive More TheHiveMore https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1918585695
[WOTC] The Hive TheHive https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1918499687
[WOTC] Fair Lost Targeting FairLostTargeting https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1123260291
Raider Faction: SCP Foundation Mobile Task Forces FoundationOperativesRF https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1774066942
WotC Without The Lost WotCWithoutTheLost https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1157127420
[WOTC] Allow For Larger Squads [WOTC]AllowForLargerSquads https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1166873208
[WOTC] Raiders and Resistance Strategic Spawning RaidersStrategicSpawning https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2139432337
[WOTC] Raider Unit Manager nnEncounterListManager https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2294234510
[WOTC] Faction Anchor WOTC_FactionAnchor https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2387956032

Augments (4):
Augments: XCOM Prosthetics Augments https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1079953981
Mark Zero Augments MarkZeroAugments https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1294744824
Augmentations Augmentations https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1293725945
WotC Vest Slot WotC_VestSlot https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1293714688

New Aliens (1):
[WOTC] Advent General Revamp AdventGeneralRevamp https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1241956143

Gene Mods (2):
[WotC] Gene Mods WotC_Gameplay_GeneModding https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1877861493
Mitzruti's Perk Pack MitzrutiPerkPack https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1561030099

Facilities Rebalance (7):
[WOTC] Prototype Armoury PrototypeArmoury https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2567230602
Facilities+ FacilitiesPlus https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1933622888
[WOTC] Proving Ground Overhaul V2 WOTC_PGOverhaul https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2259746446
WotC: "Increase Combat Intelligence" for everyone WotC_ComIntActionsForHeroes https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1134537412
[WOTC] Better Laboratory BetterLabs_WOTC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1126757582
Alpha's Workshop Overhaul AlphaWorkshop https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2450706289
Scientist Staff Slots: WotC Edition ScientistStaffSlotsWotC https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1123056484

Now all you have to do is click on the "profiles" tab in AML, click Load, point it to the file, UNCHECK UNDESIRED MODS and then order AML to start downloading.

DO NOT START THE GAME WITH THIS LIST "AS IS"!!!

You must choose a core mod and uncheck the other core mods. Sadly AML doesn't save currently disabled mods to the TXT, so I had to enable EVERYTHING, which means incompatible stuff is enabled. This list was never meant as a quest compass anyway, so I trust codexers will be able to load the list and uncheck undesired stuff before launching the game.

Core Mods

The first thing you need to decide when making your X2 mod list is your Core Mod or “Major Overhaul Mod” or whatever you want to call the thing that messes with soldier classes, perks, items, weapons and attachments. Compatibility with your Core Mod is your main concern when adding anything else into your list. Don’t just assume something is compatible with your core mod, especially if you choose to play Long War of The Chosen. MANY mods have a vanilla version and a LW or RPGO version. Read mod descriptions carefully and be wary of anything that messes with the stuff I put in bold. I will point out exceptions when discussing each Core Mod.

The second thing you need to decide is the overall “power level” of your campaign. All Core Mods have the end result of changing your squad’s overall effectiveness. It’s no secret, for instance, that Long War classes are generally weaker than their vanilla counterparts. Many consider the “Vanilla Core” to be way too strong, which is why 2 out of the 3 most popular Core Mods are strict nerfs to XCOM. This is done in an attempt to restore some measure of back and forth between aliens and XCOM, instead of the later obliterating the former as soon as it shows up. But XCOM’s power level is only half of the equation, which is why you should also take your choices of aliens, neutral factions, difficulty level, pod behavior and AI improvements into consideration. Whenever I present a mod I will also try to point out its effect in terms of balance. Without further delay, these are your main options for Core Mod:

a) Nothing aka Vanilla: even if it is your first playthrough I would still recommend using some QoL mods. By not installing any overhauls you can use the vanilla XCOM and then mod other, minor aspects of the game to suit your taste.

b) Long War of the Chosen: the largest and most ambitious overhaul. Personally I dislike LOWTC, but I did play it for about 20% of a full campaign. This mod heavily influences other mods as you will notice “LW Secondaries” is a dependency for other Core Mods. You can read my impressions here. LW is a standalone mod, so you really shouldn’t run other gameplay changing mods unless they clearly state being “LWOTC Compatible”. XCOM gets a noticeable nerf compared to vanilla and you are not supposed to fight out the aliens, even though they aren’t significantly buffed. LW tries to capture the feeling of hopelessness of fighting an enemy that severely outnumbers and outguns you, a feeling Vanilla misses entirely as you mow down hordes of aliens and wonder how XCOM ever lost the war in the first place.

c) Musashi’s RPG Overhaul: hands down my favorite Core Mod. RPGO abolishes classes and replaces them with the “Universal Soldier” class that has access to all perks from all classes. Stats are also manually assigned, so you have full control over your soldier’s progression. Equipment is no longer class locked, so you can equip any primary/secondary combo you want. This represents a massive buff to XCOM and should be countered with increased difficulty, enemy packs or whatever, unless you want your campaign to be piss easy. Keep in mind RPGO only affects regular soldiers, which means faction heroes, SPARKs and Psi Operatives will be like in vanilla. Therefore, RPGO is fully compatible with any overhaul to the non-regular troops. Remember to enable “The New Perk Order” before starting a new campaign.

d) A Better Barracks: from the same author as “A Better Advent” and the rest of the “A Better” mods, however this one is a different beast entirely. While all other mods in the series can be used to change your game in a modular fashion, ABB is an overhaul/core mod and should take precedence in case of conflicts. ABB is probably the harshest mod in terms of curbing XCOM’s power level. There are 8 classes, each with a fixed Secondary and a choice of 3 semi-random perk trees + the TC tree. The end result is that two soldiers of the same class might end up being built to fulfill completely different roles. One Infantry might be a support/suppression machinegunner while another Infantry might be a frontline rifleman and occasional close quarters shotgun surgeon. One agent might be knife/shotgun fighter while another is a hacking sniper with extra medkits. If you like the “perk roulette” system, you might wanna try RPGO’s option to do the same. If you dislike it, tough luck, since there’s no option to disable it, TC respecs won’t reroll your perks and “I’m the commander here” only affects the TC perk tree (the ones you can’t take until you build the training center). ABB doesn't touch Psi Operatives, so it is compatible with the Psionics Overhaul (under "partial overhauls").

Lastly, here’s a quick gross oversimplification summary of how every mod impacts XCOM’s power level:

ABB < LWOTC < VANILLA <<< RPGO

( THIS IS NOT A “MOD RANKING”!!!!)

Take this information with a grain of salt, since I read LW soldiers have a decently high ceiling to grow, so they might end up on the same level as vanilla. RPGO soldiers may also struggle during the very early game on higher difficulties since some important perks have been pushed further into the promotion tree compared to vanilla.
 
Last edited:

Eyestabber

Arcane
Patron
Joined
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Messages
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Location
HUEland
PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
Metamods

Mods in this category usually don’t do anything by themselves, but should be kept installed because they are listed as dependencies for most other mods. Not all dependencies are here, some are grouped together with their “main” mod. This category is reserved for the truly generic metamods and you should install all of them. Of note on this list:

Mod Config Menu: adds a button inside your settings called “Mod Options” that allows you to fine tune several mods without resorting to editing INI files. A lot of mods don’t list this as a dependency, but use it anyway, so always install this and keep it loaded regardless of your choice of Core Mod.

Remove Missing Mods for WotC: adds a button in the save menu to remove the error message you get when trying to load a save without loading all mods associated with that save. Removing mods in X2 is very safe in general and won’t break your campaign unless you do something really stupid like removing an alien pack mid mission. Being reminded of the missing mods every time you load a save is a pointless annoyance you don’t really need to suffer.

Choose Your Aliens: sometimes you might like an alien pack, but hate one particular alien. This mod allows you to solve this issue. The game will attempt to replace removed aliens with similar alternatives, but if you remove enemies meant to appear in Golden Path Missions (aka the main quest) you'll end up with incomplete pods.

Better Second Wave Mod Support: several mods on this list will add Second Wave options. This mod makes sure everyone gets along nicely, without conflicts.

Fixes

Minor fixes that should’ve been part of an official patch by Firaxis, but they’re simply too incompetent. Some of these mods are dependencies to other larger mods. Nothing of note here, just check all boxes and forget about it.

UI Improvements

Here we get to the bulk of the QoL mods that IMO should be used in every single campaign. Xcom 2 seems determined to hide as much information as possible, making the player go through several menus full of annoying animations to find out something that could’ve been easily presented on a previous screen. UI mods are compatible with everything else with the notable exception of “Detailed Soldier List” being incorporated into RPGO and LWOTC incorporating several of these mods into its own Core. Must haves of this list:

Detailed Soldier Lists: HP, mobility, aim, combat intelligence, available AP, hacking, EVERYTHING you need to know about your soldier stats-wise is now available on the “view soldiers” screen. Colors for combat intelligence are red < orange < yellow < green < blue. Same scheme is used in RPGOs version for aptitude.

Extended Personnel Info: adds two more boxes showing potential bonds, current equipment (fully supports modded equipment slots), XP and a full list of your guy/gal’s perks, including stuff you might get from Gene Mods or Augments.

Show All Class Counts: adds a counter to the top right of your screen showing how many soldiers of each class you currently have available. Adapts to modded classes, but is kinda useless with RPGO.

When you install all three mods your soldier screen goes from this uninformative piece of shit:

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To this wonderful one stop shop for all your soldier related questions:

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Better Tactical Zoom Out: max zoom is often insufficient for planning your action in regards to a distant alien. This mod allows to press T and G to zoom in or out of the map. Warning: zooming out too much will take a toll on your FPS.

Cost Based Ability Color: does sending my drone out end my turn? What about this new mod-added perk? This essential mod will color non turn ending action blue, turn ending actions yellow, full turn actions orange and free actions green. It’s highly adaptable to both new perks and changes to vanilla perks.

Color Coded Ammo Bar:
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“so which one of you is carrying the anti-robot rounds?”. A real problem with a simple solution. Venom ammo turns the ammo bar green, dragon turns it red and the guy with the dark blue bar is the one you’re looking for.

Black Market Usage: “can I sell this or do I need it for something”? No longer will you have to close the Black Market screen, open engineering, research and proving grounds to be 100% sure. This mod will put an icon you can hover over to find out what items use that particular item. Works with modded items too!

YetanotherF1: adds the F1 key back into the game. Now you can see alien stats like you could in EU/EW. Works with modded enemies too, with some mods even providing flavor text.

robojumper's Squad Select: change your loadout directly from the selection screen, no need to open every soldier’s menu. Fully compatible with mod added slot (like the vest slot you see on the picture). RPGO’s flexible loadout system makes this mod mandatory. Here's what it looks like in-game:

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Eyestabber

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Stop Wasting My Time

If there’s one thing Xcom 2 excels at is wasting the player’s time. Before you delve into this list, did you know Firaxis added something called “zip mode” into the game? It’s an option you should definitely enable under options -> gameplay that vastly speeds up all in game animations. You probably know about Ambient Narrative and Legacy Narrative under Audio, but frankly these options don’t remove nearly enough. This entire sections with over a dozen mods is composed entirely of stuff meant to speed up gameplay, so that you spend more time shooting aliens and less time watching stupid zombies get revealed while listening to the Chosen’s rant on and on about how your missed shot means humanity deserves genocide. Worth commenting mods:

Stop Wasting My Time: the original mod that would eventually start its own category is actually just a remover for pointless pauses and other nuisances. Stupid 2-3 seconds pauses after every enemy shoot, while brief, add up over time and there’s frankly no good reason for them to exist in the first place.

Still Stop Wasting My Time: this one takes on the Geoscape and also speeds up several animations during battles. The difference is quite noticeable, and much welcome.

Overwatch/Evac All: adds a button to overwatch your entire squad and another button to evac all units inside the flare zone. The evac mod also has an option inside the Mod Options Manager to disable evac animations entirely.

No Reveal Cinematics: probably THE most important mod in this category. Pod opening cinematics are FUCKING GONE. No more zerker growling, ADVENT whining or Sectoids height mogging their EU cousins, now the camera will simply briefly pan to the newly revealed pod and everyone is gonna take positions IMMEDIATELY. Even more useful now with all the shitty zombies (that can be removed and replaced with better stuff, check “Raider Factions”).

Disable More VO: “Quiet Bradford” was one of the first mods EVER for X2 and this one replaces it. There’s a shitty Bradford line when commenting on the Chosen where he says “and you thought I talked too much”. Pretty obvious Firaxis is aware of the game’s excessive VO and simply doesn’t care.

Hush Little Chosen: makes the chosen have only 25% chance to comment on your latest mouse click as opposed to its standard behavior of TALKING NONSTOP.

No Enemy Intro: did you know Sectoids now have human DNA? Did you know Thin Men are derived from the fully reptilian Viper? You do!? Then install this mod ASAP, so Tygen joins Bradford and the Chosen on the next train to STFUsville.

Instant Avenger Menus: no more delays and “whooshs”, you click on something, it’s presented to you instantly.

Partial Overhauls

Here I put miscellaneous mods that overhaul specific systems and are generally compatible with all core mods, except LWOTC. This is the point of the guide where we reach mods that actually do impact the game’s balance and you should use your best judgment when choosing which ones to enable and which ones to skip.

I'm the Commander Here: adds a respec button on the promotion screen that allows you to choose your “XCOM” perks on the bottom tree at the cost of AP. In vanilla that’s the only tree that varies on an individual basis, giving the soldier access to specific cross-class perks. In RPGO this mod (and the TC's train abilities feature) is useless, since everything is open for learning anyway, so you only get to choose the origin perks. In ABB this only works with the XCOM tree, it doesn’t allow you to re-roll the perk roulette or change any of the “Operative” or “Class” perks. This mod is potentially a big buff for XCOM once the TC is built. I use it because I fucking hate RNG dictated character progression and having your favorite soldier rolling garbage like “Aim” while some random SGT gets “Serial” is pretty rage inducing.

Mechatronic Warfare - Total SPARK Overhaul: SPARKS suck balls in vanilla. They are too expensive for what they offer and the spark class is pretty boring in general. This mod attempts to improve everything SPARK related to turn Shen’s gift into a viable strategy instead of a meme. This is a slight buff to XCOM, since it adds a new viable path for the player instead of the usual “ignore this garbage”.

Psionics Overhaul: deletes the Psi Operative class and makes Psi work the way it was in EU/EW. After building the Psi Lab some of your soldier with get a new perk in their list called “The Gift”. Those soldiers can then undergo Psi Training in the Lab and develop in a similar fashion to vanilla EXCEPT for the fact they retain all their previous skills and the Psi Amp is added to their inventory on a new separate slot. So now your Medic/Hacker/Sniper/Car Salesman can also become a Space Wizard in his spare time.

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Grenadier/Space Wizard

This overhaul is mostly a buff to xcom. Though you will lose the ability to produce test tube babies with Colonel level powers on their first mission, I feel like the super overloaded supports and fire-immune, protected from death by stasis frontline infantrymen more than make up for it. I say this is a buff to XCOM.

Ruler Reactions Revised: not much to say. I fucking hate rulers. Feel free to use the MCM to configure rulers to your liking, as they become pretty weak at default settings. Personally, IDGAF I want the stupid rulers out of my game ASAP. This is a nerf to Aliens.

Automated Loadout Manager: adds a button to save loadouts in squad selection. Next time you select that soldier it will try to grab whatever weapon/armor/secondary/ammo/vest combo you gave him last. Doesn’t always work, but is a huge time saver in general, especially in RPGO. Be warned: saved loadouts will result in soldiers trying to keep their stuff even when in barracks, so you’ll have to press the “make items/weapons available” button many times.

Chosen Weaponry Fix: did you know only the Chosen Assassin actually benefits from the OPness of their own weapons? This mod makes it so Warlock rifle attacks autocrit your Space Wizards and Hunter pistol shots pierce armor, while also providing some small buffs to the Assassin because...why not? This is a buff to Aliens.

Cant Execute These Enemies: makes it so a list of aliens and the Chosen can't be executed via repeaters. If you use ABA without ABB you'll have to add Primes manually to the list or just accept that they can suffer death by RNG.

TLP Unlocker: get the unlocks without actually playing this boring piece of DLC.

Animation improvements and cosmetics

In these two sections you will find some minor changes to animations and in-game effects, coupled with some basic tools for improving your usage of cosmetic mods. Leave the checkboxes ticked if you want flashlights, bullet holes and blood splatter on the map and soldiers gripping cannons like a fucking cannon, not like a rifle. As for cosmetics, like I said at the beginning: it all comes down to personal taste. However, here are some tools you might find helpful regardless of your installed cosmetic mods:

Clean Soldier Generation: forces RNG generated recruits, resistance, VIPs etc to use vanilla cosmetics only. Useful to avoid ugly abominations that can result from randomly mixing and matching parts that were never meant to be mixed.

Iridar's Appearance Manager: very complex mod that allows you to quickly copy-paste uniforms into units, setup different appearances for each armor and save everything to your charpool. Watch the video guide by the author himself for instructions on how to use this. Here

Configurable Headshots:
changes the camera that takes your soldier’s headshots to make them look more normal instead of the vanilla’s terrible fish eye lens look. It has the added bonus of allowing mod helmets that are too front-heavy (like Urdnot Wrex’s head) to show up normally on headshots, instead of a weird empty face.

Classic X-Com Armor: the ONLY cosmetic mod I’ll actually cover and recommend. This is an incredibly high quality recreation of the iconic Personal Armor of the original X-Com: Ufo Defense. Just look:

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And here is my squad wearing it in the dropship:
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In fact, by combining this with the Uniform manager and other mods, you can setup a tiered look for your soldiers. Example:

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Sam ‘Eagle’ Nelson is one of the first guys I ever saved to character pool. In my current campaign with ABB, I decided to use this as my Tier 1 uniform, with only headgear being individual to each soldier.

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For the predator armor I used this recreation of the classic personal armor. This is also saved as an uniform that can be quickly copy pasted into everyone.
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Nelson’s final form is…well, he becomes Doomguy. This isn’t saved as a uniform, but rather a Tier 3 look for Nelson only. I mean, the guy killed over 500 aliens by now over the course of three campaigns, he is clearly on a league of his own. If I start a new campaign and Nelson shows up from my charpool he is going to retain these looks. What you see on the screenshot can be accessed via customization -> stored appearances.
 
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Eyestabber

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LWOTC

In this category you will find the Core Mod "Long War of the Chosen" along with its dependencies. “Accurate Situation Report” and “Revert Overwatch Rules Change” can be used by themselves. If you intend to play LW, be advised the Core Mod is 3.24 GB and has a lot of dependencies that must be installed and loaded or weird things are going to happen. As usual, AML is your friend here. It will automatically detect any missing dependencies and help you download whatever you’re missing. An important rule of thumb to remember when adding ANYTHING with LW enabled: despite my dislike for it, this is THE most popular Core Mod for Xcom 2, so most partial overhauls have another version suited for LWOTC. Do not use stuff meant for vanilla with LWOTC, you WILL break your campaign.

A Better Series

Here you’ll find several mods by DerBK, the author of the previously discussed A Better Barracks. All these mods with the exception of ABB can be used in your RPGO/ABB/Vanilla campaign and are safe to remove mid campaign in case you dislike their content. Everything in this category is going to make your game harder, so these mods are great to counter balance whatever advantages you might have given yourself via other mods.

A Better ADVENT: War of the Chosen: this mod adds new and tougher aliens and unshackles and improves enemy AI. Did you know X2’s AI plays so poorly intentionally? By default, on all difficulties except Legend, aliens are programed to spread their damage out, prioritizing injuries over casualties. Alien pods are also programmed to patrol away from XCOM if you’re currently fighting a big enough thread. With ABA all these restrictions are gone and the modder improved some other AI routines as well, making the game much harder without resorting to insane stat bloat.

The new aliens, however, are designed to be tougher and are sprinkled into every existing alien species, with no changes to the corpse loot table. So when you kill the infamous ADVENT Gunslinger you’ll get a regular ADVENT trooper corpse. While most enemies added by the mod are clearly upgrades or sidegrades to vanilla enemies, it’s worth pointing out the new Primes: late game enemies that work similarly to rulers, but aren’t nearly as overwhelmingly retarded. If you’re running this mod without ABB, you might wanna consider installing one of the repeater mods, to prevent rulers, chosen and primes from being instakilled by a random weapon with the repeater attachment. Or not, it’s your game after all.

Finally, there is an alternative version of the mod meant for people who just want the AI changes, without adding any new aliens. You can find it here.

A Better Campaign/ABC Plus: by default golden path missions (aka the main quest) have fixed spawns that are unaffected by Alien mods. These two mods revamp all golden path missions to include the new primes and also make them harder by increasing ADVENT’s numbers.

A Better Chosen: slight improvements to the Chosen AI and some new traits to make them a bit more impactful. Also removes the guaranteed bleedout nonsense, meaning chosen encounters can be fatal. This mod pairs up nicely with “Chosen Weaponry Fix” located under “partial overhauls”.

A Better Militia: makes the resistance fighter more utility focused, instead of being 85 aim supersnipers like in vanilla. They are now more likely to suppress and throw flashbangs, while also moving into cover themselves. IMO vanilla behavior is better for the player, so I say this is a bit of a nerf to XCOM.

A Better DLC: a plugin to ABA that includes enemies based of DLC content like Shen’s last gift. You will now encounter Cryo Priests that can toss frost grenades, ADVENT Titans that can throw axes in your face and ADVENT SPARKs that suicide bomb your squad. Yet another buff to aliens.

RPGO

Here you will find the Core Mod "Musashi’s RPG Overhaul", along with its dependencies. Beam Grenade Launcher, Vest Slot and Grimy’s classes can actually be used by themselves in a non-RPGO campaign. The first time you load the game with RPGO enabled you might be greeted with this:

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Don't worry about it. I played two entire campaigns with RPGO and everything worked fine. As long as no dependencies are missing the load order of mods doesn't really matter in Xcom 2.

Map Packs

These mods will add to your map generation pool and IMO improve the overall experience of the game, as you won’t be running into the same places all that often anymore. Map packs are safe to add and remove mid campaign, but obviously not mid mission.

Pod Control

Here you will find mods aimed at making the game more challenging but without buffing aliens individually.

Increase Pod Size By Force Level: this mod allows you to setup rules for increasing the size of each and every alien pod when you reach certain Force Level thresholds. FL is a vanilla mechanic used to measure how advanced are the aliens you’re gonna face. In order to fine tune this mod, I advise you enable (at least temporarily) the “display Force Level” under UI improvements. Be wary of the fact that too many aliens can and will tank your FPS. You need MCM to be able to configure this mod to your liking.

Yellow Alert Gameplay: makes it so pod activation becomes much more dangerous. Pods will patrol towards active combat within hearing distance and there is a chance one of the pod members might take a shot straight away. YAG also changes reinforcements to deploy further away from the player and get an aggressive action immediately (can be disabled via INI). This mod is a massive buff to aliens, more so than ABA.

Dynamic Pod Activation: a less brutal version of YAG, this one merely makes pods patrol towards ongoing firefights. It has compatibility issues with raider factions, so you might want to use something else if you want Raiders in your game.

Another thing you should know about pods is that AI vs AI activation doesn't happen without an XCOM soldier having LoS on both teams. So if you want Raider vs Alien combat to happen normally, with both pods activating and fighting each other with all they have, you need to either use YAG or install some other AI vs AI activator. This decision might just bite you in the ass during VIP and Haven Retaliations. Again, this sort of behavior was never intended by the devs and weird shit is bound to happen, which is why I didn't propose any solution for the "aliens and raiders just take potshots at each other until XCOM arrives" problem.
 
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Eyestabber

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Raider Factions

One of WOTC’s main feature is the introduction of the zombie faction. I find this to be the weakest aspect of the expansion since zombies are uninteresting from both a thematic AND a gameplay point of view. However, I do believe the idea of adding a third party to some missions to spice things up is very interesting, but modders added better implementations of this idea than Firaxis did. These independent parties that are hostile to everyone are commonly referred to as “Raider Factions”.

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Remember to check your SITREPs for Raiders

Fair Lost Targeting: we start things off by pointing out a popular mod if you MUST keep zombies around. In vanilla the Lost aren’t actually neutral as they have a 70/30 bias towards attacking XCOM. This mod makes everything a fair 50/50.

WotC Without The Lost: my favorite of the bunch. Stupid zombies are fucking GONE. Doesn’t break the “Lost and Found” mission but makes it really empty. It’s best to disable it at campaign start. This mod can be safely added and removed mid campaign.

The Hive: this mod is both an Alien pack and a neutral faction. Unlike other faction packs, The Hive has its own in-game narrative, fully conveyed in the form of GAMEPLAY, not stupid walls of text. At first The Hive will be nothing more than large packs of chryssalids, fully aligned with the Aliens as usual. Later on, however, you will start noticing that after your turn ends, there is a “Feral Hive Movement” happening. That’s the point in the campaign where the Queen breaks with the Elders and Hive aligned Chryssalids start behaving like a Raider faction, attacking both ADVENT and XCOM. This is a very high quality mod, well worth its 1.18 required disk space.

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Archon attempts to TAP DAT ASS

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Aliens discover they too can be turned into cocoons by the Hive Queen

This mod delivers what Firaxis failed with the Lost: a swam of melee enemies that actually feel threatening to go up against. As usual, I’ll provide fair warning on two things: 1) although there is no actual conflict between The Hive and ABA, both mods add new Lids into the game, creating some confusion and incoherence since both mods have a queens and hunters. 2) this mod add the very dangerous Chryssalid Chameleon into the game, a lid capable of going invisible (unless burned) AND ambushing your soldiers with a Rupture attack. Gene Mods pair really well with this mod, as it provides a reliable counter to invisible units.

It's also worth pointing out not every chryssalid on your mission will belong to The Hive faction. That's intentional and Hive Juvenile Queens (and the Queen) have a special ability that makes lids switch sides (NOT a mind control) in favor of the Feral Hive. Might break XCOM mind control over Chryssalids, with hilarious results. Oh, and Rippers refund your action when killed, sharing the same mechanic as The Lost.

In another thread I posted this screenshot:
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That battle was the result of The Hive + Increase Pod Size by Force Level. Sophie, my assault, got swarmed by 8 Chryssalid, fired with “close combat specialist” like 4-5 times, SURVIVED the initial wave of assault, albeit with a completely empty shotgun and serious wounds. Her partner Dekker healed her back to full HP, she retreated towards the rest of the squad, reloaded her shottie and it looked like the worst had passed. I end turn and a Chamaeleon shows up behind Sophie, rupturing her and then 2 other Hunters finished the job while her Armor had been shredded down to 0 and the Rupture status means her HP melted away in a single non-crit blow. Dekker gained the “Fear of Chryssalids” trait and I had to find him a new partner.

Sophie’s demise at Brigadier rank inspired me to make a new build specifically meant for dealing with The Hive. After some pondering I ended settling with a Shotgun/Flamethrower specialist who proved to be extremely effective at his pest control job. Actually…now that I think about it, maybe a Shotgun/Sword guy with both bladestorm and close quarters specialist would be even better. Huh…that’s the beauty of RPGO.
The Hive More: adds Hive related activities into the early to mid game. I played a full campaign and can say this mod is reasonably balanced and doesn’t turn your early game into a living hell. Your covert operatives will now be ambushed by The Hive. Hive retaliations may replace regular ADVENT attacks and there's a special mission reminiscent of everyone's favorite EW mission in a certain fishing village.

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Dexter's girlfriend eventually joined Cerberus and then Xcom, engaging in an epic battle with a giant 160 HP bug momma. That's my modded cannon anyway.

SCP Foundation Mobile Task Forces: in case you miss EXALT. That's IMO the best "human faction" raider mod available. New voicelines and cosmetic gear included, new rewards don’t feel too OP (unless you’re playing at a really low power level, like ABB). This mod introduces task forces based of the creepy pasta SCP Wikia. They are human enemies that are hostile to both ADVENT and XCOM and they have thematically assigned traits. For example, "Assimov’s Lawbringers" have MECs and everyone packs bluescreen rounds, "Samsara" has health regen, there’s a force of psi ghosts and "Mole Rats" have grappling hooks. Their weapons are somewhat standardized, but expect every different MTF to have a trick or two up its sleeve to make your (and ADVENT’s) life more painful.
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MTF guy using "return fire" against an ADVENT Cryo Priest (from ABA)

Their appearance varies according to each MTF's schtick, but in general these guys look like dudes in military gear packing FL appropriate gear. Recovering their remains rewards the player with certain utility items that are straight up upgrades compared to their regular counterparts. I don’t think this is such an unfair advantage because MTFs are VERY tough and it’s likely you’ll pay the blood price for that shiny Scrambler or Hiking Gear.

Raider Faction Bases: by default, Raider factions will be a SITREP like the Lost and you can’t get rid of them permanently. Unless this mod is used. With this mod you’ll now have new choices on the Covert Ops screen for tracking down a Raider base, an assigment that has a guaranteed Raider ambush. After this mission is successful you’ll be able to launch another Covert Ops aimed at destroying the base you found. This is a special mission with 10 soldiers (4 covert ops + 6 from your squad) where you’ll fight a bunch of Raiders with the sole goal of exterminating everyone. Once this mission is successful that particular raider faction will be gone forever.

Although interesting on paper, I disabled this mod in my setup because I find it to be pretty unstable, buggy and when you use SCP MTF it results in a raider base for each task force. So your campaign can quickly become a slog, your resistance Ring bloated with Raider related stuff AND I encountered weird shit like assaulting faction X base and then finding faction Y defending the place. Not to mention the investigation/assault mission was the only time I had XCOM 2 hard crashing on me. With all that out of the way, you should still try Raider Bases out and decide for yourself whether or not it belongs in your campaign. This mod is NOT required and doesn’t interact with The Hive. The Feral Hive disappears once you kill the Hive Queen, no base assault needed.

Faction Anchor: simple mod that prevents missions from ending after all aliens die, but some raiders are still alive. Don’t use this with The Lost still enabled, as it will force you to kill each and every zombie. This mod is required to avoid soft crashes in Raider Bases AND it helps avoid weird stuff happening with Raiders in general.

Raiders and Resistance Strategic Spawning: very important mod that prevents Raiders from spawning on top of aliens. Now the Raiders will have their own spawn point at the edge of the map (like XCOM) and will move towards the objective.

Finally, you should know that by default Xcom 2 allows just one SITREP per mission. There's a mod for allowing multiple SITREPs (not included in the txt) and you must use it if you want to see both the Feral Hive and SCP soldiers during the same mission for a 4-way battle. Also, some of these Raider mods are more "dominant" than others, so if you install a Raider mod and never see said raider faction it's probably because another faction (or The Lost) is hogging your SITREPS.
 
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Augments

In this section you will find Augmentations by Musashi (same guy who made RPGO), its dependencies and the plugin “Mark 0 augments”. What this mod does is add a new mechanic into the game that works both as a requirement for treating certain gravely wounded soldiers (there’s a chance for augments to be required that can be edited on MCM) and as a possible upgrade path to XCOM soldiers and Faction heroes. Once you fully replace a guy’s limbs with augments he gets the “I never asked for this” trait, making him immune to a bunch of stuff at the cost of (maybe) going crazy after taking damage.

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Augments are Proving Grounds projects that can be equipped via a new screen accessible under the "soldier bonds" option. Once equipped they cannot be removed. Mk 0 augments can be built in the "build item" screen, without the proving grounds, but they can only be used on gravely wounded soldiers. All augments have a Will penalty associated to them.

As with all things Musashi related, this mod is also an undeniable buff to XCOM and should be counter balanced with additional challenge. The Mark 0 augments plugin is very important as it allows you to build basic prosthetics that can’t be used as upgrades, but can be used to help a gravely wounded soldier recover. Without this plugin your early game will be hell, as you won’t meet the requirements to produce augments (research Cybernetics + proving grounds building) and unrecoverable veterans will start piling up in your infirmary.

New Aliens

This section has only one mod to revamp the Advent General and turn him into an actual threat, with the ability to call in ADVENT reinforcements to the field. My initial idea was to try other standalone alien mods and put them here but truth be told the alien packs I use bring more than enough variety.

Gene Mods

Attempts to bring back EW’s Gene mod mechanic via a new upgrade to the Infirmary and new mods being unlocked via autopsy research. This mod is fully compatible with augments and adds second wave options to dictate how the two should interact. By default, you can’t have both in the same slot and more than two augments will disable all your gene mods. You can change this behavior via Second Wave options. Although not listed as a dependency, Mitzruti's Perk Pack is essential otherwise your selection of Gene Mods will be very limited. Unless you want the new perks showing up in your Training Center, you should do as the author suggests and right click the perk pack in AML, click “show in explorer” and open the Config folder and then “check this mods's XComMZPerkPack.ini and set AllowCrossClassAbilities to false.”

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The gene lab is a new upgrade to the infirmary. Only regular non-augmented body parts can be gene modded. In the picture we see eyes being grayed out because the soldier had an unfortunate encounter with a bunch of Vipers and required a brand new cybernetic head as a result. Thus her eyes can't be gene modded.

Unlike Augments, Gene Mods is a quite small buff to XCOM, since they are both expensive and highly situational. IMO this mod can be used on any campaign as it enriches character development without giving the player any freebies, as all upgrades provided require serious commitment of resources that could probably be more impactful elsewhere.

Facilities Rebalance

Vanilla Xcom 2’s base management is pretty garbage, most notably because traditionally important buildings like Laboratory and Workshop have been reduced to piles of worthless noob trapping excrement. In an attempt to improve player experience, this section is dedicated to mods aimed at making several base facilities less awful. You might think these buffs are uncalled for, since the game is “balanced” in vanilla, but I disagree. “Skip this building because it sucks” is not a 200 IQ strategy and I will provide my own settings (aka nerfs) meant to ensure the changes to Facilities merely add more viable options, not a free ticket to a L/I win.

Alpha's Workshop Overhaul: we start off with the biggest offender on this list. Workshops are a well known noob trap and for some unfathomable reason they got nerfed in WOTC. This mod increases the engineer count to 3, and makes it so each slotted engineer generates 5 supplies per day. That sounds like a lot, but when you take into account the fact that months in X2 are actually 21 days long, and the workshop costs both money and power to maintain, you’ll quickly realize the money made from “recycling” is a small profit and it will take a couple “months” until the new Workshop pays for itself.

If you’re not convinced, you can either nerf (decimals work!) or disable recycling by editing “XComGame.INI” inside the mod folder. I nerfed mine to 3 supplies. Another possible solution for the workshop sucking balls issue is this mod. I won't say much because I haven't tried it, but it looks like too big of a buff for XCOM.

Prototype Armoury: do you feel like squad-wide upgrades are a huge decline? Then sperg no more, since this mod makes everything individually produced. NOT needed with LW since Pavonis implemented this behavior as default on their Core Mod and also incompatible with ABB since DerBK introduced his own mix of squad and individual upgrades. Great addition to either a vanilla or RPGO campaign.

Proving Ground Overhaul: no more lolrandom retardation. Once a project with RNG results like Ammo or Grenades yields a particular result, that result can later be replicated at will via the regular “build item” menu. You’ll still have to suffer the initial RNG, but no more wasting a gazillion Elerium Cores with Venom Rounds until you hit another AP/Bluescreen.

“Increase Combat Intelligence” for everyone: small tweak to the Ring that allows faction heroes to be assigned as beneficiaries of ICI Covert Ops. No more tears because you rolled a mere “Standard” Reaper.

Facilities+, Better Laboratory and Scientist Staff Slots: I’ll group these three together because they work in unison to create my own vision of what the Laboratory should’ve been like. "Scientist staff slots" is a simple mod that replaces engineers with scientists in the staffslots of the Resistance Ring, Psi Labs and Infirmary. I disabled the Ring replacement by editing XComGame.ini inside the mod folder. "Facilities+" adds a bunch of extra slots (none of them free) to several buildings, most of which I disabled for considering the benefits too OP. But let’s go over each one (keep your XcomGame.INI open as you read this):

  • Psi Lab: adding a second cell will provide an additional staffslot that can further reduce Psi training time. That’s a “PsiLab = false” for me as I feel Psi is strong enough as it is and needs no buffs.
  • Infirmary: can now be upgraded to add an extra “remove negative trait” and a new staff slot to reduce wound recovery time further. Might be balanced on Legendary, but I play Commander and consider these buffs to be way too over the top. So, Infirmary = false.
  • Proving Ground: can be upgraded all the way up to 4 engineers. I’m fine with this one, since paying supplies and power for slightly faster PG projects is a pretty situational decision.
  • Power Relay: adds two more upgrades that provide 0 power but allows you to staff two more engineers. Sure, just dump some idle engies here.
  • Resistance Communications: adds two more upgrades, allowing up to 4 staff. Since you only need 16 contacts to max out, this upgrade can be overkill. It’s a decent addition to give the player options instead of praying for a “+1 contacts” from either scan sites or Resistance Orders.
  • Laboratory: I mention this last because here is where the autism fun starts. Between the four slot lab and my custom settings on “better laboratory” I feel like the building is now properly balanced. The “better laboratory” mod adopts an EW-like mechanic of rebates on special materials used on research + a bonus to intel acquired from researched datapads. Here’s my twist: by default this mod works with a regular (two slot) lab size and I feel like the bonuses are a bit too good. So what I did was spread out the bonuses over the expanded lab size. So you’ll now need a fully upgraded lab with 4 scientists to get the “original” bonuses for 2 slots. At 2 scientists you will only get half the bonuses.
Here is my XComBetterLabs.ini:
[BetterLabs_WOTC.BL_TechWrapper]

; based on number of slots filled by scientists

fLabIntelBonus[0] = 0.0

fLabIntelBonus[1] = 0.25

fLabIntelBonus[2] = 0.5


; materials rebate (eg 0.5 = 50% rebate)

fLabRebate[0] = 0.0

fLabRebate[1] = 0.2

fLabRebate[2] = 0.4


; 20% variance in rebates by default

iRewardVariance=20


; for compatibility with 4 lab slots mod -- no increased bonuses

fLabIntelBonus[3] = 0.75

fLabIntelBonus[4] = 1.0

fLabRebate[3] = 0.6

fLabRebate[4] = 0.75

As always you can adjust these values to your liking.
 
Last edited:

Catacombs

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Great guide. Any chance you can turn all this into a PDF for personal saving?
 

Eyestabber

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Great guide. Any chance you can turn all this into a PDF for personal saving?

I'm still working on providing links, screenshots and fixing grammar/typos while also improving formatting. Once it's all done you (or anyone else) is free to copy my codex posts into whatever format you would like them.
 

mastroego

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I'm going through an almost similar phase with Skyrim SE
Though I doubt I'll have the energy to write it all down like this....
Good work my friend
 

Billi205

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Excellent stuff! I finished a challenge run with 4 soldiers + permanent dark event a while back in vanilla. Now looking for mods to make enemies tougher + harder + intelligent.

My immediate thought is to add:
- a better advent
- exalt squad (from watching Chris Odd vids), they seems fun
- perhaps some mods to make the flamethrower not so useless..

Do you have any recommendation other than those?

I'm not a fan of the hive or lost zoombies mods. Perhaps will try after but not immediately. Also not a fan of LWoTC mod either. Tried, spent way to much time to organise...what soldiers should do these coverts etc..

Also, have you tried yellow alert? It looks like it could be brutally fun :D.
 

Eyestabber

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- exalt squad (from watching Chris Odd vids), they seems fun
In case anyone is wondering: he is talking about this mod that uses MOCX as a base and make them look and be referred to as EXALT. Chris Odd's modlist can also be used for reference here. I didn't cover MOCX in my guide because they are not really a raider faction, they are fully aligned with the aliens. IMO Advent Troopers/Officers/Priests/whatever already fulfill the role of alien-aligned human opponents. But MOCX is a highly popular mod I might try in the future.

- perhaps some mods to make the flamethrower not so useless..

Flamethrowers sucking balls is an issue that is very hard to solve. For starters, Flamethrowers were never meant to be a primary option for the player, only for ADVENT. And purifiers are well known to be the least harmful of ADVENT forces. In vanilla Flamethrower charges come from heavy weapons mounts exclusively. LW introduces the infamous Gauntlet, capable of producing the same effect as an equipped flamethrower + rocket combo. Certain modded items also add flamethrower charges to the soldier's arsenal. So the problem is you can't buff flamethrowers globally, you need to adjust values on the INIs of each and every piece of equipment that provides a flamethrower charge. You would also need to adjust INIs on any modded class that deals with flamethrowers (eg Purifier in RPGO). And I don't even think the basic flamethrower and the hellfire projector (W.A.R variant) share the same code...:?

If you're using the Gauntlet from LW secondaries, you're in luck since I brought this issue up with the modder himself and here is his answer:

I asked said:
Hi, I'm using this together with RPGO and I feel like the Purifier class is woefully underpowered, mostly due to the gauntlet being kinda weak. Could you please tell me which files and lines I would need to change in order to:

- increase base flamethrower charges from 1 to 3 (need to roast MANY lids)
- increase flamethrower AoE, range and damage
- change panic odds (I'm thinking of giving it Napalm-X by default)

he replied said:
These values are spread between XComGameData_SoldierSkills and XComGameData_WeaponData ini files.

There are also mods to introduce a flamethrower as a primary weapon into the game but I suspect it would suck massive balls due to range limitations unaccompanied by ranger/templar tools to overcome them.

Do you have any recommendation other than those?
Yes...? First six posts ITT...?

I'm not a fan of the hive or lost zoombies mods.
Zombies and Chryssalids are the main targets for flamethrowers. If you want neither in you game then you might as well save yourself the trouble of modding a gazillion files and just leave the flamethrower in its vanilla state.

Also, have you tried yellow alert?
Yes, I used it with RPGO. Reflex actions are quite confusing and pods attacking you immediately is tough, but manageable. Rapid reinforcements, however, is complete and utter bullshit. In tunnels that means enemies will spawn where you don't have a LoS, turn a corner and then take a shot at your guys, all within the same turn, no chance to prepare or to counter in any way. It's hard but not in a "asking your boss for a raise" sense, more like "sticking your dick in a blender" sense.

This can be mitigated with bReinforcementsAlwaysDefend = True on XcomYellowAlerts.ini
 

Billi205

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- exalt squad (from watching Chris Odd vids), they seems fun
In case anyone is wondering: he is talking about this mod that uses MOCX as a base and make them look and be referred to as EXALT. Chris Odd's modlist can also be used for reference here. I didn't cover MOCX in my guide because they are not really a raider faction, they are fully aligned with the aliens. IMO Advent Troopers/Officers/Priests/whatever already fulfill the role of alien-aligned human opponents. But MOCX is a highly popular mod I might try in the future.

- perhaps some mods to make the flamethrower not so useless..

Flamethrowers sucking balls is an issue that is very hard to solve. For starters, Flamethrowers were never meant to be a primary option for the player, only for ADVENT. And purifiers are well known to be the least harmful of ADVENT forces. In vanilla Flamethrower charges come from heavy weapons mounts exclusively. LW introduces the infamous Gauntlet, capable of producing the same effect as an equipped flamethrower + rocket combo. Certain modded items also add flamethrower charges to the soldier's arsenal. So the problem is you can't buff flamethrowers globally, you need to adjust values on the INIs of each and every piece of equipment that provides a flamethrower charge. You would also need to adjust INIs on any modded class that deals with flamethrowers (eg Purifier in RPGO). And I don't even think the basic flamethrower and the hellfire projector (W.A.R variant) share the same code...:?

If you're using the Gauntlet from LW secondaries, you're in luck since I brought this issue up with the modder himself and here is his answer:

I asked said:
Hi, I'm using this together with RPGO and I feel like the Purifier class is woefully underpowered, mostly due to the gauntlet being kinda weak. Could you please tell me which files and lines I would need to change in order to:

- increase base flamethrower charges from 1 to 3 (need to roast MANY lids)
- increase flamethrower AoE, range and damage
- change panic odds (I'm thinking of giving it Napalm-X by default)

he replied said:
These values are spread between XComGameData_SoldierSkills and XComGameData_WeaponData ini files.

There are also mods to introduce a flamethrower as a primary weapon into the game but I suspect it would suck massive balls due to range limitations unaccompanied by ranger/templar tools to overcome them.

Do you have any recommendation other than those?
Yes...? First six posts ITT...?

I'm not a fan of the hive or lost zoombies mods.
Zombies and Chryssalids are the main targets for flamethrowers. If you want neither in you game then you might as well save yourself the trouble of modding a gazillion files and just leave the flamethrower in its vanilla state.

Also, have you tried yellow alert?
Yes, I used it with RPGO. Reflex actions are quite confusing and pods attacking you immediately is tough, but manageable. Rapid reinforcements, however, is complete and utter bullshit. In tunnels that means enemies will spawn where you don't have a LoS, turn a corner and then take a shot at your guys, all within the same turn, no chance to prepare or to counter in any way. It's hard but not in a "asking your boss for a raise" sense, more like "sticking your dick in a blender" sense.

This can be mitigated with bReinforcementsAlwaysDefend = True on XcomYellowAlerts.ini

Thanks for the detailed response!

When I wrote the post above, I only wanted to checkout a small portion of enemy mods i.e. to make them more intelligence and tougher instead of adding a variety into the mix. But after your reply, I'm just going to try your raiders faction mods list and see how it goes.

I will ignore the exalt squad for now though. Seeing that the raider faction should be enough to keep me amuse for now.
 

Eyestabber

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make them more intelligence and tougher instead of adding a variety into the mix.

There is an alternative version of A Better Advent meant for people who just want the AI changes, without adding any new aliens. You can find it here.

[I updated the OP to include this information]

I'm just going to try your raiders faction mods list and see how it goes.

Yes, I only included two factions that I consider to be the "best" and most likely to appeal to ppl in this forum, BUT if you want to go really crazy and not care about thematic coherence you will find mods to include stuff from Mass Effect and 40K into your game. You can even have some custom friends if that's your thing.
 

oasis789

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Do you think LWOTC + Raider Factions makes gameplay sense? Assuming its even compatible
 

Eyestabber

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Do you think LWOTC + Raider Factions makes gameplay sense? Assuming its even compatible

It's theoretically possible but very difficult. I've seen dozens of reports of raider factions displaying erratic behaviors with LWOTC, so much so I suggest you ask for help on the LWOTC Discord (https://discord.com/invite/vv5yJF9). Raider factions won't work "out of the box" with LWOTC, unlike every other core mod I mentioned. If you're willing to do some troubleshooting and some googling, you can add your favorite faction into your LWOTC campaign assuming you remember to save regularly in Geoscape. Raider factions are safe to remove in Geoscape BUT if you get a mandatory mission with "broken" raiders in it your campaign WILL be stuck in a loop. And don't even dream of using Raider Bases, that mod is unstable enough in a non-LW campaign.

UPDATE: reading ChrisOdds modlist I learned of a new Core I didn't cover previously:

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1265143828

along with

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2091410349

This mod is a rework of the vanilla classes that somewhat keeps everything within the same power level but makes character progression WAY more interesting. Every class has 3+1 perk trees to choose from and "obvious choice" perks were rolled into the new "proficiency" system, thus ensuring you'll have meaningful choices up until Colonel rank. ALL SKILLS feel useful now, as useless crap like "Aim" is gone and previously bad options like suppression were heavily buffed. There are optional plugins for the 3 hero classes, but you can skip them in favor of the vanilla heroes. No changes to either SPARK or psi, so you can use whatever rework you fancy (or none).

I might update the OP in a couple days, still discovering things with Proficiencies
 

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