Best Long War 2 mods

Those of you familiar with XCOM 2’s Long War 2 [official site] mod will know it needs little introduction. Crafted by Pavonis Interactive (formerly Long War Studios), it’s the indirect follow-up to Enemy Unknown’s Long War – a total conversion mod that expands upon Firaxis’ core concepts and ideas, making just about every little detail more difficult along the way.

Long War 2 offers much of the same, and, as Adam aptly noted in his hands-on last month, stars “tougher recruits for a tougher war.” Given its broad size and scope Long War 2 feels as much a standalone game as it does a total conversion, therefore it’s of little surprise modders of the base game have been updating their works so as to be compatible with Pavonis’ ambitious venture. Shy of regurgitating our best XCOM 2 mods list from last year, the following collection gathers those which have helped me (attempt) to conquer the long, Long War.

(NB – this extensive list of XCOM 2 mods compatible with Long War 2 is a handy resource, should you wish to cross-check the base game’s existing catalogue in your own time.)

Stop Wasting My Time

By BlueRaja

I said I wasn’t going to regurgitate the previous best XCOM 2 mods list, didn’t I? Back then, BlueRaja’s Stop Wasting My Time kicked off that list because it was easily one of my favourite XCOM 2 mods at the time. The intervening period has done little to change this, however, which is why I’m delighted creator BlueRaja has updated SWMT to work alongside Long War 2.

As is hinted at in the title, Stop Wasting My Time is aimed at those interested in minimising time wasted in battle. Units move quicker out on the field, the Avenger covers the world map at a sharper pace, and gone is the 1-3 second pause after launching an attack, the two second wait as you hide behind cover, and the second or so delay that’s triggered in the aftermath of a kill.

Granted respite is scant in Long War 2, but the last thing you need is to waste your momentum performing needlessly tedious tasks. Likewise, every second counts when your back’s against the wall. A tight ship is a happy ship.

Perfect Information and Additonal Icons

By TJNome and GrimyBunyip respectively

Right, so you’ve trimmed the fat from your campaign but require a little more help reading the battlefield. Both Perfect Information and Additional Icons are user interface mods that I admittedly didn’t use very often in XCOM 2’s base game, however are ones which I’ve increasingly relied upon during my time with Long War 2.

TJNome’s Perfect Information displays hit, critical and dodge percentages for attacks levied by recruits and aliens alike – all of which is handy for tracking how often you land an overpowered shot, or fluff a Sure Thing. Those of you familiar with the first Long War will recognise the similarity between this and LW’s togglable Second Wave option.

Additional Icons works in unison with TJNome’s work by introducing five new icons: a Loot Indicator, which marks enemies carrying loot; a Damage Icon, which shows the non-crit damage range of the unit’s primary weapon; an Aim Icon, which shows the current aim stat of the unit; a Mobility Icon, which shows the current mobility stat of the unit; and a Health Icon, which shows the current and maximum health of the unit. All of the above icons are optional, says creator GrimyBunyip, and in fact are togglable via the mod’s .ini file.

NB – it’s worth noting that a handful of players appear to have issues with Additional Icons’ compatibility with LW2. I’ve used it without issue, however bear this in mind before you subscribe yourself.

Make All Items Available

By LeaderEnemyBoss

Make All Items Available is another quality of life leg up I’ve grown to rely on. Purpose built for Long War 2, LeaderEnemyBoss’ Make All Items Available mod adds two buttons to the squad selection screen: Make All Items Available and Make Upgrades Available.

I’m fond of mods that are self-explanatory and this ‘un fits that bill in that both buttons do what you’d pretty much expect. In making items available, the former removes equipment from all barracks-dwelling soldiers not in the current squad. “This button basically combines the functions of the three ‘make x available’ buttons, leading to less clicking,” explains the mod’s creator. The latter simply removes upgrades/weapon mods from equipment that is not be used by your soldiers. A third button – Make Items and Upgrades Available – is optional and allows both functions to be combined.

Pavonis have suggested something along similar lines will be implemented in Long War 2 officially at some point down the line, however until this is the case Make All Items Available should feature high on your list.

More Cities and More Maps Pack

By TD Daz and Reality Machina respectively

More, more, more, how do ya like it? Very much, actually, particularly when in relation to More Map Packs and More Cities in Long War 2. Both TD Daz and Reality Machina’s (the latter is a name you’ll spot several times on this list) mods are another couple of it’s-in-the-name Ronseal numbers which, again, is exactly how I like ’em. More Maps Pack brings with it three new level plots, eight parcels and one PCP to the map pool which in turn allows for more varied level layouts. Over time, TD Daz promises to update their work with new procedural elements “for even greater variations”, and also provides a handy FAQ on the mod’s page that dives a little deeper into the minutiae of what it’s all about.

Modder Reality Machina’s Steam Workshop page features over 70 mods and is worth visiting on its own, however his or her More Cities adds, you guessed it, more cities. Over to the creator:

“More Cities adds in more cities for the game to use as locations, and gives them a global x offset to adjust them from 3d globe coordinates to XCOM 2’s 2d map projection. Hopefully preventing missions in London on the other side of the Channel or other absurdities.

“All math changes use float so you don’t have all cities spawning in the exact same place. Won’t work on saves with locations already affected. (So in LW2 you’ll need to wait a bit because LW2 spawns missions before you can detect them)

“Adds in both the cities Long War added to EU/EW and a number of other cities in places unfilled by the game (Whether it be countries like Italy or entire regions like New Indonesia being left unfilled), adding a total of 292 cities ranging from Jakarta to Madrid.”

Squad Cohesion and True Concealment for LW2

By Reality Machina and robojumper respectively

Robojumper’s True Concealment featured in our best mods list for XCOM 2’s base game, however is a worthy addition to LW 2’s collection too. XCOM 2’s newly added mission timers caused a bit of a stir at launch because while the mechanic tackled the Overwatch creep playstyle that had plagued forerunner Enemy Unknown, it also piled undue pressure on players. True Concealment sidesteps axing them completely but instead helps to balance play by reacting to the systems already in place. In turn, timers don’t start counting down until your crew breaks initial concealment – which works wonderfully in Long War 2.

Squad Cohension is a mod I’ve found to work well with the above in that it incentivises streamlined teamwork beyond, you know, staying alive. Taking a Fire Emblem-like approach, Squad Cohesion introduces a “squadmate score” system that gives small buffs for squads who trust one another. Creator Reality Machina breaks it down thusly: below 300 points your squad operates as normal, between 300-600, a deployed squad gains a buff of +2 Aim, +2 Def, +5 Hacking, +5 Psi Offense, and +10 Will; at 600-1200, a deployed squad gains a buff of +5 aim, +5 Def, +2 Crit Chance, +10 hacking, +7 Psi Offense, +1 Mobility and +15 Will; and above 1200 points, a deployed squad will gain a buff of +5 aim, +5 Def, +5 crit chance, +2 Mobility, +15 hacking, +10 Psi Offense, and +20 Will.

Those who blast aliens together… etc.

Additional Mission Types, Avenger Events and Additional Dark Events

By Reality Machina

Another trio of top mods from Reality Machina which add some extra variety to LW2’s new scenarios and dilemmas. Firstly, Additional Mission Types adds three mission types which promise to “spice up your campaigns”. These include Haven Siege, PR Tour, and Rescue VIP from Rioting City – all of which ostensibly involve chaotic occurrences whereby XCOM – i.e. you – are required to swoop in and save the day against a variety of predetermined criteria. Full details can be grabbed on the mod’s page.

Avenger Events asks a simple question: “Ever want the quintessential Paradox event of Comet Sighted in your XCOM game?” The answer to that is or course YES, which is why this mod recreates its own variations of Events as random decision points that may help or hinder you on your way. Following the first supply drop, expect events once per month with AE packing 18 of ’em. “Events should spawn anywhere from seven to 35 days after the first resistance recap, and will have randomized intervals from there,” so says Reality Machina.

Lastly, Additional Dark Events adds a host of dark events because Advent has “gotten tired of XCOM spontaneously developing new and even more dangerous abilities”. As such, it’s been “working on new plans to counteract XCOM’s advances.” I won’t say anymore besides this: if you thought Long War 2 was challenging before, try it with this mod installed. Best of luck!

Katana Pack Reloaded, TheAxeMod and Moddable DLC Weapons

By Musashi and Reality Machina respectively

Onto the proper fun stuff – like glowing axes, lightsaber-like swords and moddable weapons. Listen, if aliens are taking over the planet we may as well enjoy ourselves, and everyone knows sword fighting is over and above the coolest way to take down extraterrestrial hordes.

I’m therefore happy to see Musashi’s Katana Pack given the Long War 2 treatment. Its range of wakizashi and katana blades are not only fully-upgradable, but this mod also includes an ultra-cool Energy Katana tier and Plasma Katana tier that just look so cool. Mushashi’s AxeMod adds similar levels of flair to instruments otherwise associated with chopping down trees, plaid shirts and beards, and while the creator provides an exhaustive breakdown of these weapons’ stats, I’m quite content revelling in how wonderful they look.

Reality Machina’s Moddable DLC Weapons is a simple but effective mod that enables upgrade slots on SPARK Rifles and Alien Hunters weapons such as the Boltcaster, the Pistol, and the Axe. This one’s set to follow vanilla rules by default, however this can be adjusted in the mod’s .ini files.

More Armor Colors

By Carman

The most self-explanatory of them all, but it sure does make your soldiers like pretty. “This mod adds all the primary armor colors to the secondary ones,” so reads the mod’s description – which in turn provides a colour palette similar to the one pictured in the above header image. There are loads of these mods kicking around the Steam Workshop, however I’ve found Carman’s the most streamlined and straightforward which, when faced with impending alien invasion doom, is rather nice.

Honourable Mentions

LW2 WWE Squad Icons
By Grim

This is just fantastic.

Playable Aliens
By The Dreamer

Stick some Sectoids on yer side.

Tier III Grenades
By Farkyrie

BOOM SHAKALAKA!

Mass Effect N7 Ranks
By RinsakuBlade

With Mass Effect: Andromeda just around the corner, this one might tickle your fancy.

Red Headband
By Lex

Seriously, though – how cool is Aliens’ Vasquez?

If you’ve made it this far you might, just might, have the grit and resilience to outlast Long War 2’s brutally unforgiving campaign. If you think there are other mods out there which could make the gruelling journey more bearable, dear comrade, I’d love for you to share them in the comments south of here.

36 Comments

  1. Gunsmith says:

    good list, might i recommend “cost based ability colours” as well, a nice way or telling what actions end that soldiers turn.

    • HothMonster says:

      Isn’t that in vanilla? Green icons are free, white are half-turn and blue are full turn.

    • Haphaz77 says:

      Also, recommend “Evac All” – you spend a lot of time running away in LW2 and this speeds that up. (not sure already included in another mod).

      I’m about 60 missions in and reaching the mid/end of the tech tree. It’s great. Stick to Rookie difficulty though on first go!

      • bills6693 says:

        On the same theme – Overwatch All/Overwatch Others is the same. Does what it says, saves on the clicking!

  2. Premium User Badge

    lasikbear says:

    I would like to take this opportunity to be the man in the comments who is mad that the “WWE” logos mod includes the Bullet Club.

    • magogjack says:

      Even this proximity might kill TBC, the WWE wrecks gimmicks so completely and utterly.

  3. Lex says:

    Heh, thanks for mentioning Vasquez. :)

  4. blur says:

    One other that I’ve absolutely come to depend on is Gotcha.

    When mousing over tiles for movement, it gives a preview of what sort of shot you’ll have at enemies & objectives. I’ve been burned too many times without this installed, going, “What, I don’t have line of sight from here? That LAMP POST is in the way???” This mod gets rid of that guesswork before moving.

    • stringerdell says:

      Definitely one of those mods that should be integrated into the base game. tremendously helpful!

    • Sorbicol says:

      Gotcha is great but it’s line of sight calculations aren’t always correct. that can be the difference between success and failure in Long War 2 with it’s over reliance on the concealement mechancism for quite a lot of missions. To be used with caution.

      • bills6693 says:

        Enter ‘Gotcha Again’. Basically, someone has decided that since the original modder doesn’t seem to be around anymore, they’ve taken the original mod and are trying to get rid of any of those line of sight inaccuracies. link to steamcommunity.com

    • alh_p says:

      LW2 already tells you if you have LoS on an enemy when you are planning a move. When, mousing over a potential move spot with the cursor, a red target icon appears by the enemy health bar if you have LoS.

      It doesn’t tell you if you will be flanking though, which is the main thing I’d like to know and isn’t always obvious.

      • Premium User Badge

        Sihoiba says:

        That’s actually in the base game too (unless I got it from another mod I installed)…

        What’d I’d really like is something that will tell me if the alien’s will see me if I move somewhere. Only a problem if you have a concealed scout and unconcealed squad. It just can make plotting safe movements tricky.

        • Premium User Badge

          MajorLag says:

          No, it is in the base game. It can be hard to get an angle that lets you actually see it sometimes, but it is there.

  5. Drib says:

    I have to say, Long War 2 is something I very much wanted to like, but hated on playing it.

    The difficulty is absurd. I was plopped into a defense mission where I had four guys against 28 aliens, all of who had at least twice my health, and several pips of armor.

    And they dropped around randomly, so I couldn’t even keep lines.

    This was on the easiest difficulty.

    • spleendamage says:

      From someone who had exactly the same experience as you: you’re doing it wrong.

      LW2 isn’t like normal XCOM2. You need at least 100% infiltration on any mission which has an infiltration component. And because many missions just don’t have enough time to get a squad infiltrated, you just have to let those go. It’s weird and not natural, but that’s just how it is. You’re a resistance force, outmanned and outgunned. Each mission needs prep and if you don’t have enough, you get rolled.

      If you can get by that, odd approach, it gets easier, and it really is a great mod.

      • almostDead says:

        Yes, I was certainly going to say, I hope that you are aware of all the new mechanics in LW2. Absolutely can’t view it as XCOM 2, just with more mobs.

  6. rustybroomhandle says:

    Ohhhh yeah, mods, great idea. I’ve been savescumming my way through LW2 (I regret nothing) and deffos will plonk in a few of these.

  7. Scelous says:

    I never got into Long War, and I couldn’t get into Long War 2. LW1 just felt like a bloated version of XCOM. LW2 feels like a very cheap redoing of XCOM2 by making it more difficult, not via enhanced AI, but by just spamming more enemies onto every level.

    I can see why those mods might appeal to people, but I’ve never understood all the hype behind them; they both felt a very, very long way off from real DLC, let alone a separate full game. I thought Enemy Within with its mechs and gene-altering was a million times more interesting than LW1.

    • bills6693 says:

      I think that this is fairly valid with the original Long War but I think Long War 2 does more to change things up. On the actual tactical missions – yes, they’re like original XCOM 2 missions but sometimes with more enemies. But on the strategic layer – Whole new game. Entirely different.

      The game has become a lot more risk-reward choice focused, from several directions. The infiltration mechanic means you can take the risk – do a mission with low infiltration, because the rewards/concequences are worth it, but the mission will be harder and a higher risk of losing your soldiers.

      The multiple squads infiltrating/fighting at once is good because again, the risk of sending out a rookie squad or splitting your best people between squads so each is weaker vs the reward of getting more missions done. Do you send the squad as soon as it reaches 100% infiltration so you have them back ready for the next mission, or leave them out there to get an easier mission out of it?

      And the really limited resources too. I find myself really having to choose between different equipment, facilities or other expenditure because I just don’t have the money and resoueces to equip all my soldiers with good gear – and then again, the risk of sending out a poorly equipped squad to get a shot at that mission.

      I find Long War 2’s strategic layer is very, very compelling, involves lots of choice and meaningful consequences and that is why I think it really stands out as more than just a longer grind of the same game.

  8. MaXimillion says:

    “Gotcha (Flank Preview Evolved)” is another must-have.

    • bills6693 says:

      Try Gotcha Again: link to steamcommunity.com

      Its the same mod but being updated to get rid of some of the inaccuracies that sometimes occur with Gotcha, since the original mod does not seem to be being updated :D

      • Sorbicol says:

        Yes I saw that yesterday as Xwynns was using it for his legend ironman YouTube series. Doesn’t look like it’s working too well at the moment, but will keep an eye on it.

  9. fuggles says:

    What makes this a total conversion rather than a rebalance mod when it appears to use the base game assets?

  10. Sorbicol says:

    Blackmarket usage is still on of the most useful Quality of Life improvements there is for XCOM, and it works with LW2. Which is just as well considering the changes the mod makes to build requirements for specific items.

  11. geldonyetich says:

    I don’t have time for long wars in this topsy turvy cutting edge 21st century lifestyle of mine. So I’ve preemptively installed the long war short war mod that was already shipped with the release game. Now that’s efficiency!

  12. rednettle says:

    Referencing the more maps/cities mods:
    ““All math changes use float so you don’t have all cities spawning in the exact same place. Won’t work on saves with locations already affected. (So in LW2 you’ll need to wait a bit because LW2 spawns missions before you can detect them)”

    Does that mean in LW2 saves it will eventually start to work as you play? Or that we need to wait a bit until the mod does work with our saves?

  13. Neuromancing the Boil says:

    The “overwatch creep playstyle” was necessary in the original X-Com too, but it was much more tense because the enemy units got to make turns (and stalk you) from the start of the match. It was nerve-wracking and punishing from the very first turn. A major change in both of these remakes is the enemies are not ‘triggered’ until you encounter them. What would be really cool is if a mod could:

    *Bring back ballistic simulation (like the original, 20 years ago, already had), such that it takes into account what is in between you and your target and what is in their proximity
    *This would also bring back friendly fire, the harshest of X-Com’s punishments
    *The ‘trigger’ design makes sense in concealment missions, but bring back tit-for-tat turns in all other missions

    The first one is the biggest for me. XCOM just rolls the dice on whether you hit your target, whereas X-Com actually simulates where your shot would go and the ramifications thereof. Your sniper misses her target — but manages to hit your shotgunner, standing next to the target, right in the head. You howl at the moon, but it was a bad decision to open fire without clearing the area first. Or, your heavy-gunner opens fire on a target, misses, hits the gas pump nearby, causing a huge explosion, causing a fire that rips through the first floor of a nearby convenience store, causing the ceiling to cave in and another alien to fall through to its death in the fire — not your intended target, but you’ll take it. Stuff like that is why I played X-Com for ten years; it’s the pure dice-roll Las Vegas feel of the remakes that got them wiped from my drive after a couple days.

  14. Escrimator says:

    Hi,I’m the co-author of the Axe mod and Katana mod,produced the artwork . Its good to know it made such an impression,but some credit would of been nicer.

  15. Atropos says:

    “Extract Corpses” should be a five-star mod, yet it’s mechanically so simple; it lets you pick up fallen ADVENT the same way you’d pick up a fallen soldier.

    Since every single mission initially runs under Emergency Evac recovery loot rules you’re constantly struggling to find corpses for basic research. Well, just pick one up and drag it with you back to the Firebrand. It just feels right.