XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Help us shape the future of the Vortex mod manager by taking our survey

File information

Last updated

Original upload

Created by


Uploaded by


Virus scan

Safe to use

About this mod

A complete overhaul mod that uses the Long War (XCOM: Enemy Within) mod (v1.0) as a base. Primary features include re-balanced perk trees, equipment, enemies, facilities, and four distinct play modes. The Art of War project is designed towards getting the maximum possible tactical and strategic enjoyment out of the XCOM (2012) engine.

Permissions and credits
AIR WAR & OTHER PRIMERS IN VIDEO SECTION - Playtesters or anyone would benefit from watching it.

Major versions (1.X) will include notable gameplay adjustments. Minor versions (1.XY) will include only bug fixes. This mod is a work-in-progress. It needs your feedback and time to become the best it can be.


- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- XCOM: Enemy Within expansion
- Long War 1.0

Suggested Mods:
UPKUtils by wghost81 - Required for mods below...
Enhanced Tactical Info (for Long War) by eclipse666 aka SpazmoJones
Line-of-Sight Indicators by tracktwo
Better Blueshirts by Dethraker
Virtual Reality Training (for Long War) by SpazmoJones
DR Chipping (for Long War) by JCLewis

Graphics Mod - X-COM Enemy Unknown UPDATED 1-2b by philstatUK 
Graphics boost with latest SweetFX 151 EU-EW by CeeJay_dk 
TexMod AutoLoad - Required for Military Retexture mod
Military Retexture Pack by kolt16

---Development and changelog---
Art of War Planning Doc - list of specialties, descriptions, and theory crafting worksheet

Game Setup:
The following Second Wave options are intended to be used with all game types:
  • Dynamic War
  • Aiming Angles
  • Itchy Trigger Tentacles
  • Red Fog
  • Green Fog
  • Target Enrichment
  • Commander's Choice

The following Second Wave options are not balanced/compatible with this mod:
  • Training Roulette
  • We Are Legion (squad size already increased)

Things that are very, very different:

  • New Panic!

  • TLDR; Pick a continent or two and launch at least one satellite on that continent ASAP. Once you've staked your claim expect the rest of the world to fall away quickly. Missions and satellites help combat panic, so do those where you care about high panic and skip missions and satellites where it won't make a difference.

    Panic gain is greatly reduced to allow players a pick and choose approach to missions, though almost any amount of panic is potentially dangerous without a satellite on the continent or country. Countries will check once a month to leave XCOM once they are at 1.5-2 bars (30-40 panic) or 4.5 bars (90) in the Tactics game type. The chance is equal to 1% per point of panic... so 30% chance to leave with 30 panic.
    Satellites over a country will reduce this chance a lot (90%), per panic point. So a 30 panic country with a satellite is a 3% chance to leave instead of 30%. Countries on a continent that have at least 1 satellite, but don't have a satellite themselves, will see a significantly reduced chance to leave too (70%). So a 30 panic country with no satellite, on a continent with a satellite, will have a 9% chance to leave instead of 30%. Satellites and other successful XCOM actions (UFO downed, UFO Assaulted, Abduction Thwarted) tend to reduce panic slightly in the areas they occur in.

  • Light/Heavy/Super-Heavy Crit Paradigm

  • TLDR; In AoW you'll be hit more, you'll be crit more, but generally each of these is less dangerous... except for enemies that have crit perks (especially Slayer). Use F1 and autopsies to help inform your tactics and keep Slayer (especially Aggression + Slayer) enemies from occasionally murdering your troops.

    In AoW critical hits are a bit more nuanced and let you divide your troops by their armor class: Light (no crit reduction), Medium (Hardened = 40% crit reduction), and Super-Heavy (Resilience = Crit immunity). All enemies have a base 30% chance to crit. Almost all enemies have a randomized chance to have Aggression (+10% crit per enemy in sight) and/or Slayer (+dmg per enemy in sight). Flanking an enemy is an additional +30% chance to crit.

    Taken all together what does this mean? 

    Light... unit w/o Hardened or Resilience
    VS the base crit chance Light units have a 30% chance of getting crit'd.
    VS aggression Light units have a 60% chance of getting crit'd (at worst).
    VS flanked increase the crit chance by 30%...

    Medium... unit w/ Hardened (40% crit chance reduction)
    VS the base crit chance Medium units have a 0% chance of getting crit'd.
    VS aggression Medium units have a 20% chance of getting crit'd (at worst).
    VS flanked increase the crit chance by 30%...

    Super-Heavy... unit w/ Resilience (immune to crits)
    VS everything, can't be crit'd.

  • Squadsight Is Common
  • Every weapon of assault rifle size or larger has some amount of Squadsight range. Scopes provide Squadsight to anyone equipping them. Scopes are incredibly important as many enemies (eventually) gain extended range and/or Squadsight of their own. This makes Battlescanners (which have increased vision) better too.

  • Quick Build Is Your Friend
  • Buildings all take a long time to build now... but are cheaper. This makes Quick Build a viable, and occasionally necessary, choice. Many more buildings require elerium and alloy now as well, but generally not huge amounts... there's a lot more missions to go on so you can afford them.

  • Retreating/Skipping Missions Is Necessary
  • As missions tempo is increased and most missions (skipping terror is an instant country loss, though continent-wide panic is reduced) have less panic backlash you can skip or retreat from a mission without suffering as much as before. In fact, because your barracks is limited and there are a lot more missions you're almost certainly going to have to either let some missions pass or go in with a smaller squad. But rewards are increased so even skipping 2-3 missions a month shouldn't leave you dead in the water.

  • Psionics Is Widely-Available
  • Psionic techs are much faster to complete than before and meant to be available within the first few months of play. The psi perk trees and development times have also been reconfigured to allow soldiers to acquire inhuman reflexes and extraordinary abilities that aren't psi powers and don't extend their fatigue timers... that said, soldiers that do focus in psionic powers when advancing through the Psi trees will advance much, much faster than their counterparts. While you can expect most of your non-MEC, non-Officer soldiers to gain access to psi powers you can expect experienced psions to take a large number of successful missions to cultivate... guard them well.

  • Air War Adjustments
  • With LW 1.0 we've gained access to the air war variables... expect rapid fire weapons (Hellstrom Missiles, Phoenix Driver, Ion Burst Cannon) to be your best friends against agile alien small craft and "bomb" weapons (Djinn Hunter, Black Candle, Fusion Ball Launcher) to be required to cut down the massive health of those larger alien craft. The Novastrike Missiles available with Plasma tier weaponry are perfect all-rounders, use without discretion. Try out new tactics with the bombs high damage and ultra-slow attack speed (~5 seconds)! The Firestorm has been remade as, not a faster fighter, but a tougher cruiser meant to perform sustained bombing runs against the larger UFOs, you'll need the standard Interceptors all game long to tackle the fastest UFOs so its a good thing that they benefit more from your Armored Fighters upgrade than their higher-tech friends.

  • Multiple Captures Required For Interrogations
  • There are more missions and more aliens per mission AND more soldiers per mission. Capturing just one alien isn't as big a problem in AoW so you'll need to bring home a couple live ones from each breed before you can interrogate them. Also just carrying an Analysis Module will give you extra arc thrower charges.

NOTE: Not all in-game descriptions are completely accurate. Please report any issues as a bug here on Nexusmods or message me directly.

In the Art of War experience the following major changes from the base Long War experience:

Equipment Overhaul
Perhaps the largest shift from Long War is the addition of perks to almost every weapon and piece of equipment in the XCOM arsenal. This shifts the balance of power away from high level soldiers and onto smart pre-mission loadout selections... allowing astute commanders to shape their squad for the mission at hand far more effectively.

++ One man, many hats: No longer are soldiers pigeon holed by their perk selections, slaves to one equipment loadout... rifleman or shotgunner or marksman... change the loadout of a soldier now and they can handle vastly different roles while maintaining their intrinsic strengths. Some clever equipment choices may even allow soldiers to skip training in a "must have" perk to further specialize their combat mastery.

++ MEC the most of it: MECs are more restricted in their training choices but have incredible variety in the perks offered by equipment. These super-heavy infantry can play differently every mission as long as you provide them with the high tech goodies they deserve.

++ Tech Mixer: With varied perks and stats across tech levels you may find that just because the damage is superior doesn't mean you won't be pulling out the older model weapons when the moment is right. Maybe you want the built in suppression of the Heavy Laser Rifle or the innate Holo-Targeting of the Beam Tech's Halo Array? How you plan to win is up to you, but you might find that just because something is an older generation of tech doesn't mean it's obsolete.

++ Spread the Love: Some equipment may allow for a more reliable spread of certain skills. Notably the Analysis Module (formerly the Targeting Module) now grants Repair in addition to it's critical % and damage boost (and weight). Many shotgun type weapons grant Run & Gun. Most carbines specialize in Overwatch... choose wisely.

Soldier Overhaul
Soldiers now gain basic tactical skills and health earlier in their ranks and mental fortitude and polish later. Young soldiers are far more effective in their first few ranks, but the elite troops of the enemy will still require the iron will of hardened veterans to combat longer and more dangerous missions effectively.

++ Two new Soldier classes: The stalwart Command and the genetically engineered Sleeper replace the Medic and Engineer classes who's specialties have been redistributed across other classes. While the Command specializes in keeping other soldiers safe, informed, and make excellent officer candidates the hardy and adaptable Sleeper class focuses on raw combat statistics and powerful passive abilities. 

++ Tactical Focus: Perk trees have been redesigned to each include 3 specialties, one per perk tree column. These synergistic skillsets bring the most engaging and strategic actions the game engine offers in the first few soldier ranks and then refines and polishes your soldiers as they mature into deadly veterans.

MEC Overhaul
MECs are versatile... think of them as your Heavy/Super-Heavy soldiers with badass equipment and less perk synergy. Raw stats and power make MECs into powerful tools, though generally they won't be as well balanced or as role-focused as a fully gene-modded or psi-focused soldier.

++ Matter versus Mind: There are two distinct trains of thought that command the MEC design process. One line of suits focuses on durability and weapon hard points while the other line of suits focuses on defense and flexibility. Expect crit immunity, high health, damage reduction, mobility, and weapon slots from the heaviest MECs. Expect very high defense, Will bonuses, and equipment slots from the lighter advanced MECs.

++ In All Things, Balance: MECs are graced with massive mobility, Will boosts, and powerful AI sub-systems... however the more equipment you attach the greater the strain on their processing power and weight thresholds. Expect underclocked MECs to require constant babysitting by Officers and overloaded MECs to waddle around sluggishly. A careful mixture of suit type, weapons, subsystems, and squadmates allows you to create incredibly lethal man/machine hybrids to combat the alien threat.

Enemy Overhaul
No enemy is the same... expect incredible diversity among your foes with carefully crafted enemy perk tables.

++ Racial Diversity: Every enemy type has access to a number of universally available perks that can have minor to moderate effects on your tactical plans. Every enemy has a customized % chance to acquire any of these perks and the chance deviates among the races.

++ Tactical Roles: Besides the global diversity perks each enemy type has a tactical role defined by a % chance at a significant selection of synergistic perks. None of these perks are guaranteed, so not every Outsider may regenerate or have Close Combat Specialist, but the most basic are very likely and while the more esoteric or deadly are relatively unlikely. 

++ The Perfect Being: While it's not likely eventually you may find a foe or a combination of foes with perks or a combination of perks that you can't possibly defeat. There is no shame in retreat, only in giving up the war. "If [your foe] is in superior strength, evade him." And win a different fight.

Strategic Overhaul
Not every battle must be won. With an emphasis on having at least one satellite per continent, too few resources to fight every fight, and reduced penalties for ignoring or skipping a mission every choice in the strategic game is made viable.

++ The Swarm: Prepare yourself for more missions per month. To go on more missions you will need to invest heavily in your barracks and make the hard choice about which missions to go on and which to pass, when to exhaust your tired troops and when a forced march will cost you too dearly.

++ Know When To Fold 'Em: Some missions are going to be cakewalks but you should expect an occasional nightmarish ambush. Choose carefully where you commit your troops and when to withdraw. Resources are plentiful so letting a mission slide or getting out with your squad intact should always be in your mind.

++ Crumbling Hope: XCOM begins with a massive amount of the world's support... but can you maintain that support or will it crumble with the hopes of mankind as the enemy unveils their true power? Use the support of the world wisely as panicking nations, increasing enemy strength, and your own infrastructure will begin to weigh heavily upon you as the game goes on.

Four New Game Types
There are now four game types instead of four difficulties, each focused on a different balance of tactical and strategic skills. See here for details.

++ Strategy: Bring your strategic A-game. With a toned down tactical game and the most difficult strategic settings you can focus on what you enjoy most; raw unadulterated strategy.

++ Tactics: Muster your bravest soldiers and face the ultimate foes. With a toned down strategic game you can worry less about satellites and resource acquisition and fight wave after wave of the most brutal enemies mankind has ever faced.

++ Hope: A mix of the tactical and strategic challenge of the other game types without any bonuses or penalties, toning or buffing. This is the standard game balance, challenging but possible. Experienced Long War players may find themselves at home or, if Impossible addicts, wanting something a little more... hopeless.

++ Despair: An unforgiving mix of all of the above. The brutal enemies of Tactics, the crumbling support of Strategy, and very little Hope. Do you have what it takes to truly master the Art Of War? Good luck, Commander. 

What's not done yet:

- Descriptions : /
- Balance Fine Tuning... I'm open to the community's feedback about the mod, let me know what you think!