XCOM: Enemy Unknown
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Cryptic C62

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About this mod

Recategorizes tactical mission maps into more logical groups, and gives each group a more realistic intel description.

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Long War introduced the Area of Operations feature to the squad select screen. For the most part, the information is helpful, but with some glaring exceptions. This mod is designed to address two issues with the intel system:

  • All maps in a given category should share some important characteristic that affects tactical play. Currently, the "Settlement" category is a mess, with maps like Research Outpost, Cemetery Grand, and Small Scout Farm, and Trainyard, which are wildly dissimilar. Another common complaint is that Train Station and Confounding Light, two very similar corridor maps, are in Urban Large Structure and Urban Block, despite having no similarity to maps in either category.

  • (Un)Reliable reports should give (un)reliable intel. If an alien operation occurs in a very specific, unusual place (like a cemetery), that is likely to be reported consistently by civilians, police, military, and news agencies. However, if alien pods appear in the middle of a crowded city, XCOM would likely receive incomplete, inconsistent reports as to the dispersion of the alien threat. Did they take over a building, a street, or an entire block? This should only become clear once the operations team hits the ground.

The new intel scheme:

  • Commercial District: Aliens sighted in a densely populated urban area. They may have taken control of any number of buildings.
  • Compound: Aliens have taken control of an industrial or government compound with limited civilian activity.
  • Waterfront: A pier or dock with buildings and shipping containers nearby.
  • Roadway: A corridor with numerous vehicles. No reports of alien activity in nearby buildings.
  • Railway: Aliens have taken control of a passenger train station or industrial rail yard.
  • Construction Site: Heavy equipment on a building or roadway.
  • Cemetery: A broad open plaza with scattered gravestones and other small structures.
  • Wilderness: UFO sighted in a remote unsettled region. No civilian activity detected.
  • Rural: UFO reported by residents of an agricultural area. Expect some civilian activity nearby.
  • Water Channel: Satellite images show UFO near a river, stream, or marsh. Expect open sight lines and minimal cover.

How does this affect the game's difficulty? In urban situations, you receive less specific intel, and must be prepared for anything. In non-urban situations, you receive more specific intel, which can be very helpful. Overall, it should make the tactical experience feel more consistent -- no more prepping for Convenience Store and getting blindsided by Train Station, or assembling your best rooftop players and ending up in a cemetery.