The new Factions in XCOM 2: War of The Chosen aren’t just single heroic units you use in battle, they are part of a larger organized force. You’ll work with each of the Factions, perform Covert Actions and use Resistance Orders to improve your odds of success. It’s a whole new addition that resonates in both the tactical and the strategic layer and will shake up your decisions on each playthrough. And it was inspired, in part, by collectible card games.
Today, we’ll explain how it all ties together into the larger Geoscape in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen’s expanded campaign.
We’ve already talked about each of the three new Factions (Templars, Skirmishers, Reapers) you’ll be recruiting in the fight against the Chosen. Finding a new Faction opens up their HQ, which gives you a new place to scan and benefit from in the strategic level. For example; scanning at the Reaper’s HQ gives you additional Intel, operating from the Templar HQ heals your troops quicker, and the Skirmisher’s HQ allows you to build facilities faster.
Working with each Faction on Covert Actions is the key to defeating the Chosen once and for all. The more missions you undertake for a Faction, the better your influence is with them. The better your influence, the more Covert Actions will be available. More Resistance Orders become available and you’ll be able to assign more Resistance Orders per mission.
These are essentially non-combat missions. You’re allocating resources and soldiers to ferret out information seek out perks that’ll benefit XCOM, or rescue captured soldiers. A successful Covert Action can mean additional resources, new soldiers, a new mission, or information leading to a Chosen stronghold. Once players successfully complete three Covert Actions to locate and gain intel on a stronghold, that Chosen’s final mission will be available. But don’t think that this is simply a matter of you choosing a mission, then waiting for timers to tick down.
Covert Actions can – and will – go sideways. Each mission has a chance of seeing your soldiers get wounded. Worse, a mission could devolve into an ambush. When this happens, the game immediately changes focus from the Avenger to the soldiers deployed on the Covert Action. The player has to move the soldiers to an extraction zone and safely get them out of the ambush. The odds, however, are stacked against you. You won’t have a full squad – usually two, maybe three soldiers – and you’ll be fighting off enemies as well as ADVENT reinforcements.
Of course, there are ways to mitigate risk. When setting up a Covert Action, you will sometimes be able to add additional soldiers and staff (scientists and engineers) to improve the odds of mission success. Or you’ll be able to employ Resistance Orders. We’ll get to that in a minute.
INTEL: Examples of Covert Actions
Some of the missions you may undertake in our fight against ADVENT.
Hunt the Chosen: Three separate missions that will lead you to a Chosen Stronghold.
Rescue Soldier: Only available after a soldier has been captured by the Chosen.
Locate Faction: Always available at the start of the game, used to meet the Factions and gain one of their soldiers.
Recruit Faction Soldier
Counter Chosen Activity: Prevents the Chosen from performing their scheduled monthly activity
Breakthrough Research: Activates one of the new breakthrough research techs
Resistance Order: Gives the player another Resistance Order card for the Faction
Think of Resistance Orders as modifier cards used in CCGs. According to XCOM 2’s Senior Producer, Garth DeAngelis, “Design leveraged the foundation of a tried-and-true card system to provide that variability from a mechanical standpoint. These Factions are unpredictable, just like the game itself, and you never know what services they can offer in a given playthrough.”
In addition to gameplay depth, unique narrative context was given to each of the new Factions based on those services. The accurate Reapers may allow your squad to insta-kill Lost if you hit them at all, while the Skirmishers may strong arm the Black Market into offering you more favorable deals – it’s your choice to take advantage of what you want.
INTEL: Examples of Resistance Orders
Once you gain the trust of the Factions, you may earn policy cards. Here are a few examples, by Faction.
Infiltrate: On timed missions, the timer does not begin until the squad has lost concealment.
Volunteer Army: There is a chance that a Resistance soldier will join the XCOM squad for the duration of the mission.
Bomb Squad: Experimental Grenade and Heavy Weapon projects are completed instantly in the Proving Grounds.
Modular Construction: Facility construction speed is increased by 25%
Mental Fortitude: All battle madness (panic, obsession, berserk, shattered) only lasts one turn.
Machine Learning: Research breakthroughs are twice as likely to occur.
Something to consider when you start playing the game: Maximize Resistance Orders by thinking ahead. If you know you’re going to be excavating or building several new facilities, use cards that help speed the process up. Did you just unlock a new weapon tier and know you’re going to use most of your resources to purchase them? Apply cards that will give you additional resources during a supply drop, reduce costs of facility actions, or give you bonuses that would usually cost money (ex. getting additional Resistance contacts).
Making use of these new features will give you more control in the Avenger to execute the perfect strategy in your fight against the Chosen.
Look for more blogs revealing more game features soon. Be sure to follow XCOM on Twitter and Like XCOM on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest information on XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. If you’re looking to enlist with the Resistance, join the 2K Forums!