7 essential mods for XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen

xcom-war-of-the-chosen-mods

Now that the new, humungous XCOM 2 expansion pack has had a couple of weeks to bed in, the game’s mod community has been steadily fixing up their tweaks to work with War of the Chosen [official site]. Over time, there’ll be more Steam Workshop offerings which take specific advantage of the onslaught of changes WOTC introduces, but right now what I’m interested in is assorted quality of life improvements that remove pointless dead time from the game, offer more tactical detail and generally make the whole shebang slicker and quicker to use.

These, then, are the XCOM 2 War Of The Chosen mods that I just don’t think I could do without. (Well, I could, but I’d be complaining the whole damn time).

war-of-the-chosen-mod-guide

Quick note first – if you’ve yet to indulge in the many pleasures and improvements of WOTC, as detailed in my XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen review, but are knee-deep in XCOM 2, you’ll hopefully be not unhappy to hear that most of these mods work in the base game too. However, they do require a separate version of each mod, so check the title and description before you install it.

General housekeeping too, in case you’re new to the Steam Workshop – just click the ‘Subscribe’ button on the Steam page for any of these you like the look of, and it’ll be downloaded and updated automatically. You then need to click the checkbox next to the name of any mod you want to run from the XCOM 2/WOTC launcher the next time you fire it up.

xcom-2-interface-mod

Quick Soldier Info

Early hours with an XCOM game tend to entail using your soldiers one by one each turn – move and shoot, next, move and shoot, and so forth. But by the time you’re a few dozen hours in, you’re thinking about them as a squad rather than a set of individuals, which means Tab-to-switch-soldier is your most-used button. Checking, checking, checking – who can do what, who still has actions left, which skills have recharged, who’s wounded or otherwise vulnerable… Tab, tab, tab, tab, tab, many times before you commit to any moves at all. If only XCOM 2/WOTC had an at-a-glance way of seeing everyone’s sitrep, and jumping directly to specific units. Well, here you go.

It takes up a bit of screen space by shoving a row of soldier faces, overlaid with various statuses, at the top right, but it’s well worth it for the time saved. I use it less for switching straight to certain units, and more just as a super-speedy reminder of who’s still in play – it saves a ton of time each turn, and strikes me as something the official and weirdly fragmentary X2/WOTC UI could really benefit from.

xcom-2-base-mod

Instant Avenger Menus

Yes, yes, the ‘ant’s nest’ base mode is an impressive sight, especially with WOTC’s various room, propaganda poster and soldier costuming additions, but by God 98% of the visual side of it has zero bearing on playing the game. Slowly panning and zooming around it eats up so much time (exacerbated by the sheer number of interruptions in global view mode), and all it really means is that you’ll see the animations thousands of times across the course of a campaign. This mod rips all the room transitions away – click on a button and you’ll go directly to, say, the Research or Engineering screen. It’s less fancy, and I’m sure it breaks a few artists’ hearts, but it’s so much more efficient. I’d love for this to simply be a togglable option in the game’s official settings.

xcom-2-evac-mod

Evac All

A returning favourite for many of us XCOM 2 vets, and I’m frankly staggered that WOTC didn’t include an official option for this. All it does is add one extra button to your soldiers’ action quickbars. All that button does is immediately and simultaneously trigger evacuation (er, to a chopper, not of bowels) for any of your units who are currently stood in a mission Evac zone.

If you’ve ever been through the pain of solemnly clicking Evac seven times on hostage/VIP missions, you’ll know what a tiny godsend this is. The cherry on top is that seeing your whole squad boost into the skies in tandem makes for a far more dramatic finish to a mission than doing it one by one.

XCOM-2-soldier-mod

More Nations and Names

Given that XCOM 2/WOTC is supposed to concern a global resistance against evil alien overlords, your soldiers hail from a rather small pool of countries, and it’s not long before their names start to become rather homogeneous. This mod adds dozens more nations into the database, as well as many more names to pull from when the game auto-generates new recruits. A Russian soldier will, by and large, have a more Russian-sounding name now, for instance.

Visually, this is only really apparent in the little flags that appear in Armory and soldier bio screens, but it really amps up both the planet-wide feel and the variety of your resistance effort.

N.b. this mod is a combo of two other modders’ efforts – More Nations Mod 1.0 by Astograph and Immersive Names 1.4 by DaggaRoosta, so you could as an alternative install one or both of those separately.

xcom-2-speed-mod

Stop Wasting My Time

Forgive this its passive-aggressive title – it’s an extremely welcome, if not vital, time-saver for anyone who, like me, has put hundreds of hours into XCOM games by this point. While a combination of patches and WOTC itself has shown the worst of XCOM 2’s weird mid-mission delays and pauses the door, many more still remain. Oftentimes these involve the game telling an attentive player what’s already perfectly obvious, or making too much fuss at showing certain outcomes that, again, a seasoned player can take in with a glance.

SWMT says goodbye to the likes of post-grenade pauses, not-exciting-the-four-hundredth time enemy reveal cinematics and a few of Captain Obvious Bradford’s unskippable observations, as well as speeding up Gremlin and Avenger movement times. Frankly, ‘Stop Making Me Lose My Mind’ might be a better title for this essential.

xcom-2-skill-mod

New Promotion Screen By Default

More about tidying things up than adding or removing things that should/shouldn’t be there, but with the net result of making WOTC feel more unified with XCOM 2 than a layer on top. In the unmodded expansion, soldiers have one of two different skill upgrade screens, depending on which part of the game you’ve reached it from, plus some skills can only be bought with Ability Points if you access the screen from a particular room. This makes it so that the new, slicker, horizontal skill screen is what you see wherever you go, and if you want to buy bonus powers with AP you no longer have to perform the base view dance first to do so.

war-of-the-chosen-interface-mod

Gotcha Again

This one’s a lot more useful for less experienced XCOM 2ers than monstrously battle-scarred veterans such as I, but it has saved me from a few complacency-based fatal errors nonetheless. Essentially, what this does is add a few interface elements that give you a better sense of what situation one of your soldiers will find themselves in if they move to a square you’re hovering the cursor over – if they have line of sight to or will flank an enemy, if snipers’ squadsight will activate, if they’re going to trigger an enemy’s overwatch and similar. It takes a lot of the guesswork and memorisation out of things – though, if you played X2 through a couple of times before tackling WOTC, your guesswork and memorisation should be pretty reliable anyway. (Plus, patches + WOTC have already introduced a few more ways of seeing what’s going to happen before you commit).

For me, Gotcha’s additional quality of life additions, such as directional arrows for VIP locations and hackable stations, are the big win.

There are and will be many more best War of the Chosen mods, of course – please do point ’em out below. Or, if none of these sound like they’ll make the XCOM 2 to your taste, see if you can find a more appealing meat grinder in our 50 best strategy games round up.

49 Comments

  1. Drib says:

    The “Stop Wasting My Time” sounds like a big one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool seeing the aliens react to spotting you, but not when you trip like six patrols at once, or just have to watch yet another damned Lost swarm pop in.

    Hopefully it removes that dramatic zoom in on your soldier as he lines up a shot to kill that dangerous alien that will otherwise wipe out your squad, and then… misses and just causes a party wipe.

    Yeah you, ‘Mustang’. I didn’t forget.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      No, those still happen, but it does remove the annoying “let’s stare at the alien for five seconds after the shot is taken before the obvious MISSED subtitle pops up,” which makes it more of an “oh shit I missed” rather than “bullshit, WTF xcom why does everything take so freaking long”

      Combine that mod with “Quiet Bradford” and you’ll stop getting as much “helpful commentary” from Central at the most random of times.

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      If memory serves; in XCOM:EU you only got the cinematic-taking-of-the-shot in cases where you hit, otherwise you’d get a comparatively prosaic view of the shooting and a ‘shot failed to connect’ or similar comment.

      This memory(I think it is accurate; but if it isn’t confirmation bias has somehow still made it really strong) makes the XCOM2 cinematic behavior really, really mess with my head. Sharpshooter lines up the shot, I’ve totally got this one? Nope; he does that periodically regardless of whether it’s a hit. Camera zooms in for an alien taking a shot at some hapless rookie, he’s doomed right? Nope; only sometimes.

      • keithzg says:

        I only *just* started finally playing XCOM:EU, and can confirm that, although it takes weirdly long sometimes and does do dramatic angles, there’s a clear slomo effect that is *almost* always associated only with the successful shots. Every once in a while though it’ll trigger what seems like it for a soldier that’s on overwatch, just due to coincidences of camera angles around the level geometry (I don’t believe it’s *actually* the same camerawork) and then I’ll be jarred by the shot actually missing.

      • Slazer says:

        That was actually the point of the change, as confirmed by the producer, you always knew you will hit anyway when the cinematic started

  2. masteratt says:

    I’ve played XCOM 2 in a recent Steam Free Weekend and the pauses in combat made me think my CPU was being capped or something. I was mind blown when I found they were by design. I wish I looked for / found “Stop Wasting My Time” during that.
    I will get the ‘XCOM 2: Xcomest Most Xcom’ edition when its the right time, and despite usually preferring vanilla experience (stick with dev vision, for better or worse), I will most definitely make an exception and play with that Mod installed.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Honestly, I cannot even begin to fathom how they are purposeful design decision. It’s throwing your time away so you can literally get a few seconds to stare at a completely static screen. Blows my damn mind.

      It doesn’t even feel good. As you say, it’s like your CPU is stalling. I half-expect to hear a cricket chirping sound during them. It’s like if, in a movie, the picture froze for two seconds before every cut.

      • spacein_vader says:

        Someone should make a mod that adds the cricket noises.

      • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

        It’s especially curious given that, apparently, the results are available well before the graphics catch up:

        It’s most noticeable on the intro monument-sabotage mission, since that is all rookies and soft targets. Set up your basic overwatch ambush of a pod or two, have the last soldier break concealment; and you’ll receive one or more ‘promotion earned’ notifications almost immediately(if your squad actually managed to make their shots); but the animation of the shooting and hits can take 30+ seconds to play out after the promotions from kill XP have already been announced.

        I love it anyway; but XCOM’s approach to animation is…a bit wonky.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Yep, I played for a while recently before realising that Stop Wasting My Time wasn’t working, and damn does it go slowly without it.
      There just seems to be pointless multi-second pauses before and after every action or animation. The only reason I can think of for their presence is so that the player can always follow what’s going on (eg “so that enemy fired an overwatch shot and missed, but the next one managed to hit my soldier for 7 dmg”), but even with SWMT working it’s still pretty easy to follow, even when your whole squad is on overwatch and several enemies all try and move at the same time.

  3. mpk says:

    I’ve had to disable all mods because XCOM2 is just crashing constantly. And it’s not as if I have a huge load of gamebreakers installed – I picked up the WotC versions of Evac All, SWMT, Capn Bubs and a few more quality of life changes, but that was it. But still, the crashening :(

    I’ll eventually get round to trying them all out one at a time to see what’s causing the issue.

    I bet it’s Horace.

    • Farnsworth says:

      You probably already tried it, but perhaps try verifying your game cache. I had a similar problem, and after verifying some tiny file was downloaded. Seems during a mod install something easy to fix broke. Had no problems since then.

      • mpk says:

        I had not tried that, because I am a very silly person. Trying it now, will report back.

        • mpk says:

          And the problem is solved! Thank you internet person, you have helped an old man out.

          • popej says:

            It sounds like you solved the problem with Farnsworth’s help. I’ll still mention this though as it might help others.

            The ‘Additional Icons’ mod is a common QoL mod but it was causing various crashes for me on the Tac map.

  4. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    I don’t have WOTC yet, but I’ve found that the ‘Legacy’ version of Stop Wasting My Time doesn’t work anymore.
    On an up-to-date version of XCOM2 you now need the WOTC version.

    • tehfish says:

      Of the mods i had installed pre-DLC, a good 90% of them broke WoTC. The only exception being voicepack mods, they all seemed fine.

  5. Jane Doe says:

    A few more I couldn’t do without:

    * A Better AI (because its terrible)

    * Bronzeman Mode (because XCOM 2 is full of bugs and things it never explains until its too late, or because it overexplains nonsense fivethousand times, but only mentions things like melee immunity once in fine print at the bottom corner of your screen)

    * Commanders Choice

    * Peek From Concealment

    * Fry Voice Pack (“You guys are terrible friends for always trying to kill me!”)

    • Rorschach617 says:

      When you said Fry voice pack, I thought you meant Stephen Fry.

      And now, I want this mod. Stephen Fry’s voice replacing Bradford’s, alternating between General Melchett, QI host and Jeeves depending on how you are doing in the battlefield.

      • Blackfish says:

        A Stephen Fry voice pack would be great from a sufficiently diligent modder – Fry does audiobooks as well (including all the Harry Potter books) so I imagine there’s a cornucopia of raw audio for every situation.

  6. Premium User Badge

    james.hancox says:

    Do these UI mods play nicely with the gamepad support? I’ve got some bad memories of Skyrim mods totally shafting controller support! :(

    • Jane Doe says:

      That’ll teach 2K to make XCOM 2 PC-exclusive!

      • batraz says:

        Actually it’s not pc exclusive ; playing it these days on ps4. No mods though, of course, but after getting ass kicked badly by Long War 2, I enjoy the simple fun of vanilla couch-playing.
        Edit : or maybe you already know that and your comment was straightforward and ont ironical. White knows ?

    • mondestine says:

      James.Hancox:
      I’ve been playing WotC with controller, and so far I haven’t had too many quirks with it working, and I’ve got “Evac All, More Squad Sizes, Flawless, All Soldiers gain XP, Blademaster Momentum, Gotcha again” running at the moment. I’m using a DS4 with DS4Windows, and everyone in a while it’ll do that annoying thing where “Reconnect Controller” pops up, but it’s not that often.
      So far – at least by XCOM 2 Janky standards – WotC has been pretty smooth sailing with a controller!
      It’s still a bummer that XCOM2 won’t let the steam controller work as an actual controller with the controller UI (as opposed to just glorified mouse mode), but Dualshock 4 works well enough anyway.
      There are a few other UI mods I’ve been meaning to try like “Perfect Information” and the one that shows health as numerical values, but I haven’t had a chance to check them out yet.

  7. Sunjammer says:

    Still need the mod that replaces the music with the XCom 1 soundtrack or just gives me options to point to files of my own. The very worst thing about XCom 2 for me has been the distractingly bland soundtrack.

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      Nauallis says:

      I have a mod that lets me turn off the music and another mod that plays music from an entirely different application. So many features!

    • Rindan says:

      Turn off the music in game. Alt-tab to your web browser. Open something that plays music in your browsers. Hit the play button. Alt-tab back to Xcom.

  8. Jasta07 says:

    Someone needs to make a mod to turn down the white hot flare on the globe when you zoom into the world map. I genuinely close my eyes AND shield them with my hand every single freaking time it happens.

    It actually HURTS to look at it. Think about that, a digital software product is causing me actual pain.

    I swear there’s a Nagasaki flash burn silhouette developing on the back wall of my computer room.

  9. Partialist says:

    The “[LW2 Cmp] XCom 2 International Voices Pack” is a good WiP that is adding more languages for soldiers to speak.

    Its Steam Workshop page has a detailed guide/resources for contributing too.

  10. jackarbiter says:

    Brutal fix fixes the bug where a Chosen with Brutal PERMANENTLY reduces your soldiers’ will instead of temporarily as it is supposed to. So it’s kinda necessary for play.

    • Rack says:

      I use that one, but I suspect it might be intended behaviour. The code looks REALLY explicit that it’s dropping max will not current. It’s just that’s devastatingly overpowered.

  11. TotallyUseless says:

    Any mod that removes the game counter altogether for your other missions?

  12. go3th says:

    Just started playing yesterday evening, as my computer crashed as soon as I launched PUBG, and god how I was mad at how long this game takes to do things. I ll sure install “stop wasting my time” or I ll end up making my own soldiers throwing ‘nades at themselves for being so slow. Which is not the point or the game.

  13. RIDEBIRD says:

    Stop wasting my time and Instant avenger menus sadly have not worked for me in WOTC (using WOTC versions). I’ve verified files, reinstalled the mods, and nothing works. It really can be super slow and frustrating without them, but fortunately I’ve hit endgame and I’ll be done with my Ironman WOTC run soon. For anyone starting, I can’t recommend them enough. Remember to activate Zip mode in the game options as well. Makes a ton of difference.

  14. LagTheKiller says:

    Aye me boys! Its good to stop wastin ur time, but for evac all using tab and 3 u can send em all in matter of 4 secs.
    Also if he says i lost civilian one more time there will be new job open in Avenger and officer Bradford will be storming aloen facality. Without weapons armor or grenades. I can give him bluscreen ammo so he can ram it into their skulls/usb.

    I like LW classes tho. Without spend 500 hours on full LW. Also new classes makes some of their vanilla ones inferior? I mean whats the point of using psi operative or ranger when u got templar? Only katana/reaper and maybe control. Sharpshooters as snipers already have not to move and got piss poor chance for hit if not with “high ground” and reapers got bitchin armor shred and banish ability which will exterminate even gatekeeper with expanded clip. And can move. And specialist still is good only as medic. And omg grenadiers weapon is so useless. U never gonna hit anything, ammo is low and makes ur poor asshole so slow.

    And my wet dream would be wh40k total overhaul.

    • Slazer says:

      With you on the snipers and Rangers, but I still like Grenadiers for shredding armor and cover, and specialists for hacking.

      Usually I got 3 new classes, Spec, Nade and Ranger on my party just for the additional melee and to use all the fun special gear.. Didn’t even care to get Psy and Bot yet, and I just killed the second chosen

  15. Premium User Badge

    MajorLag says:

    Reading this thread, I get the impression that I might be the only person on earth who’s ever played XCOM2 unmodded.

  16. Dillinger says:

    Do the existing DLC offerings work with WofC? Chen’s Last Gift and Alien Hunters and the like?

    • Archonsod says:

      Yep. In fact you can use them two ways –

      1. Integrated. Gets rid of the scripted missions but leaves the rest of the content intact. So the Alien Hunter tech is researchable from the start in the proving ground. Alien Rulers will spawn at Alien Facilities (and if you fail to take them out when assaulting the facility, will revert to random spawning in missions, though you’ll never face a ruler and a Chosen). XCom MECs can be built, though you miss the buffs from the Shen’s Last Gift DLC.
      2. Not integrated – Keeps them as they are (or you can select individual DLC to activate). Works as they do in vanilla XCom, though it does lead to some Bradford spam on the geoscape in the first few days.

      They did slightly nerf the Alien Rulers so they only get their extra turns in response to certain actions, rather than every time an XCom soldier so much as looks at them.

  17. PhilBowles says:

    Pending a patch to fix it I’d rather like a mod that puts an end to the screen freezes when covert ops missions resolve – this is a known problem judging by 2K forums.

    Also, while the more names and nations are welcome more language support for the existing ones would be better (there’s even one less than there was in XCOM 1, as Russian isn’t supported) – as well as fixing the oddity that as of War of the Chosen Turkish is an available nationality, but the Turks all have English names.

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