XCOM Players Discover Bonus Campaign Mode

XCOM Players Discover Bonus Campaign Mode

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Second Wave brings some oldschool challenge, a la carte.

When playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown, there are many things that may cross your mind as you witness savage aliens eviscerating your beloved squad of experienced soldiers. If you were thinking, "Man, this game just isn't brutally unforgiving enough," then you're in luck - some observant players have found a slew of difficulty tweaks tucked away in the game's files. Also, you should probably get help.

The advanced settings, collectively dubbed "The Second Wave", were part of a feature that developer Firaxis Games had intended to include in the game to boost its longevity. Unlocked after successfully completing the campaign, they would allow players to tweak various aspects of single-player gameplay. The options seem to make the experience a good deal more random, and significantly more difficult for hopeful commanders. Either way, don't get too attached to your troops if you decide to enable these settings.

Second Wave itself was cut from the release version of the game due to time constraints, but the menu and its included tweaks seem to be mostly intact within the game's configuration files. A helpful user at the XCOM Nexus page has provided a DIY guide to activate the content, so you can start experimenting with fresh new ways to watch Earth burn. At the time of writing, all but one of the added options are working as intended.

Here are the details on Second Wave's arsenal of modifiers:

Damage Roulette: Weapons have a much wider range of damage
New Economy: The funding offered by individual council members is randomized
Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats
Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, his or her stats increase randomly
Red Fog (Bugged): Any wounds taken in combat will degrade a soldier's stats for that mission
Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit
The Greater Good: The secret of psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien
Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete
Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases
High Stakes: The rewards granted for stopping alien abductions are randomized
Diminishing Returns: The cost of satellites increases per construction
The Blitz: Aliens target a larger set of cities during abduction attacks
More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare

Source: PC Gamer

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I didn't want a harder game but a longer one would be nice. Hope the Marathon setting works well.

Looks like it could give the hard-core XCOM players a lot more fun. I am not one of them, so I will probably pass on this. :P

Too bad they had to cut it due to time constraints, though. Hopefully, they will add it back in officially in a future patch. I mean, it looks almost done as is.

Some of those options sound pretty scary to me. :P

I do hope they get implemented properly in a future update. I'd definitely give Marathon a try at some point.

The Marathon one sounds interesting, I wonder if it makes the game "Civilization" long.
(maybe twice or thrice as long, not literally 10 years long)

Hmmm, well, I kind of figured an expansion for X-com is inevitable, so I'd imagine you'll see some of these features "officially" implemented then.

That said, a lot of this does not appeal to me. Part of the point of a turn based game to me is the relative amount of control you have. The RNG being involved in gunplay and attacks is fine, but when you start adding it to your "moves" outside in the strategy aspects it defeats the entire purpose to me. You make the game too random (and that's what this does) and it's like flipping a coin to see how many times it takes before you get "heads" 20 times in a row or whatever. The result of those mods seeems to largely make the game entirely random and non-strategic.

I'll also say that expanding the game by making it more difficult is not the only thing to do. I'd like to simply see more options, or the return of some old ones from previous games. Some of which might make the game easier. You know, new weapons, the inclusion of vehicles (as opposed to jus Shivs), being able to equip your guys with cyberware as an alternative type of powers to psionics, and of course simply more types of aliens and maps.

While it would be hard to do, some kind of more involved system with interceptors would be nice too. It would be cool to say have to do a similar kind of tactical battle to the ground combat, with a squad of interceptors fighting past a UFO's turrets and fighters to take it down. To me it just seemed kind of wrong to take a UFO down with one jet at a time, even if the original X-com was the same way.

I'm not really sure that combining all of these at once would be a good idea, but hey, a lot of them are quite a nice dose of "No, you get screwed this time. Sorry." that the first games did have. Especially the random rookie stats. I love that.

In opposition to my own bias towards Tough Luck design in XCOM, the fact that the organization is supposed to be the world's best soldiers puts a bit of a damper on the fun of getting a nigh-worthless rookie. Seeing them forged into worthy fighting machines or seeing them die horribly before they got a chance to even shoot were both compelling. Nonetheless, I'm glad it's an option and not a compulsory feature. Options are goo.

The psionic-based ones seem particularly fun, though.

Therumancer:
While it would be hard to do, some kind of more involved system with interceptors would be nice too. It would be cool to say have to do a similar kind of tactical battle to the ground combat, with a squad of interceptors fighting past a UFO's turrets and fighters to take it down. To me it just seemed kind of wrong to take a UFO down with one jet at a time, even if the original X-com was the same way.

It might not make sense, but sending more than one interceptor is never actually required. By the time you get Firestorms and deck them out with plasma cannons they can take down UFO Battleships with ease. Compared to that everything else is chump change.

The best part? The plasma cannon isnt even the best weapon you can stick on your interceptors.

Man I am already getting my ass kicked!
This is just giving the aliens steel toes!

I'd chose everything from "Not Created Equally" to "Results Driven".

Also, weird how they didn't include it, maybe they are going to release it as DLC and then sue everyone who got it "illegally".

Piorn:
I'd chose everything from "Not Created Equally" to "Results Driven".

Also, weird how they didn't include it, maybe they are going to release it as DLC and then sue everyone who got it "illegally".

from the link

The "Second Wave" settings that some people have found by digging in to the game files was a feature that the team was toying around with, but it was not ever finished by the time the game released. It's something the dev team at Firaxis is still interested in going back to and working on, but at this point we don't have any firm plans to share.

stuff like that probably need testing and i would imagine people are miffed enough at the bugs as it is

Christ, this is just the game going "just a moment, did you find that we didn't kick your ass hard enough?"

oh dear. the 'mod' edits the .exe file which publishers tend to get really cranky about and its pretty much classed as a big no no by the modding community

I thought everyone knew about this once the demo got released, it was all apparently in there too. They left a lot in there.

I have mixed feelings about "not created equally". On the one hand, one of my favorite aspects of the original was recruiting 40 guys to get the 2-3 guys that were worth keeping. It wasn't too expensive and was certainly a lot easier to recruit good soldiers than to keep average soldiers alive long enough to become good solders.

With the new, smaller squads though, there's no room to send out "alien detection squads" full of the rejects.

Ah, yes, blaster bomb to the face doing 1 damage. I missed you.

i do not see why this was scrapped from the game, when only 1 of the things does not work properly... why not scrap just the broken mode as opposed to the whole set of modes?

oh man. damn near all of those things sound awesome[1]. i may look into incorporating this into my game. >.>

[1] everything except 'the blitz', anyway. that sounds terrible.

Yep, putting these in.
They all look so good, I'm especially loving the idea of "not created equally".

Hmm, Not Created Equally and Hidden Potential sound fun. All the soldiers of a given class are identical now, unless one of em has psionics. It would be amusing to really get attached to a certain recruit with good stats... on iron man naturally.

Marathon could be cool too, or tedious. I don't know yet, but I'll give it a shot. Damage Roulette... could be interesting too.

But I'll never, ever, tick of The Blitz. The hassle of only being allowed to save one city no matter how many well trained soldiers you have warming the back bench is already the only 'streamlining' of this game that I really don't like. I'm not going to compound that problem by giving myself more problems I can't fix.

bificommander:
Hmm, Not Created Equally and Hidden Potential sound fun. All the soldiers of a given class are identical now, unless one of em has psionics. It would be amusing to really get attached to a certain recruit with good stats... on iron man naturally.

Marathon could be cool too, or tedious. I don't know yet, but I'll give it a shot. Damage Roulette... could be interesting too.

But I'll never, ever, tick of The Blitz. The hassle of only being allowed to save one city no matter how many well trained soldiers you have warming the back bench is already the only 'streamlining' of this game that I really don't like. I'm not going to compound that problem by giving myself more problems I can't fix.

Akytalusia:
oh man. damn near all of those things sound awesome[1]. i may look into incorporating this into my game. >.>

There's something in the game that's set by default off for some reason, that lets you shoot down UFOs on route to do a terror mission or an abduction. Shooting them down gives you the materials on the UFO and less panic, but then you don't get the potential reward and your soldiers don't get their recovery time - not sure why that can't be turned on normally, it's all working and fits in with the whole risk-reward hard choices thing, but whatever. Here's a mod to turn it on: http://xcom.nexusmods.com/mods/10

Now think of Blitz with that on.

[1] everything except 'the blitz', anyway. that sounds terrible.

Psionic even less common? In my game I've tested some 16 soldiers and only 1 is psionic.

I can't believe people are getting pissed off at Firaxis because this could have been on disc DLC when it isn't. YOUR LITERALLY BITCHING ABOUT NOTHING!

It is sad when the only way to make game more interesting is by making it harder.

Good on them. More games need to be following this post-singleplayer longevity increasing practice.

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Awww...I sometimes feel sorry for devs. What if this was going to be a big happy surprise?

It's like buying someone an awesome birthday present and then that person unwraps it a week before their birthday. Jerk.

AJey:
It is sad when the only way to make game more interesting is by making it harder.

Or perhaps the devs just wanted to give players an optional challenge. Just a thought.

nikki191:
oh dear. the 'mod' edits the .exe file which publishers tend to get really cranky about and its pretty much classed as a big no no by the modding community

Yeah I've noticed this. The game data was in a seperate file (a file that still exists for some reason) but was moved to the exe file on release. My guess is that they did this to prevent cheating in multiplayer, but it could have been an oversight in the rush to get the game out the door. Whatever the reson, it's making it's making modding awkward.

I heard somewhere that they were planning on using steam workshop, but it's just second hand info and doesn't really fit with the current state of things; as evidenced by the fact that I have to go offline when using mods or steam reinstalls the exe that's been altered (it might be because I have updates turned on though?)

Lots of other stuff can be found by looking in the exe. Most notable thing is the option to turn on terror/abduction UFO interception, which for some reson is turned off by default. There's a load of legacy stuff as well, such as a ton of extra countries for the geoscape and evidence that the Arc Thrower was origionaly supposed to be a pistol replacement.

 

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