XCOM 2 is one of my most favorite games ever. Challenging tactical combat, constant stream of decisions you have to take, and the ability to endlessly barbie my troops – all speak directly to my heart.
However, in its “vanilla” form the game’s balance and features leave a lot to be desired. Fortunately, XCOM’s developers have published a robust modding kit, which the community took full advantage of, and now we have a constantly expanding array of mods for every imaginable aspect of the game.
I am proud to name myself a modder as well, and happy to present my currently published mods, as well as share details on mods that I’m currently working on or have planned.
Additionally, after a lot of hopeless banging my head against the wall, I have unlocked the secret to creating custom animations for XCOM abilities, and I plan to create a series of video tutorials explaining that process in great detail.
Creating mods is nearly as fun for me as actually playing the game, if not more fun, and if I could, I would happily make it my full time job. Please support me so I can justify spending more time making awesome mods. I am happy to do requests or commissioned mods. Feel free to contact me if you have suggestions or feedback.
Recently Finished Doing
Released Beowulf Rifle Pack. Gained some useful experience in kitbashing weapon models and making weapon mods in general. The Iron Sights mod is a quick and pleasant side effect of what I learned while making Beowulf.
Planning To Do
I decided to release Smuggler Class standalone, and not as a specialization for Akimbo. It’s inspired by Scoundrel specialization of the Smuggler in SW: TOR, and it will use a pistol primary and sawed off shotgun secondary.
It would focus on concealment, and close range attacks. I likely won’t respect the SW TOR legacy and won’t give Smuggler any healing/support abilities. I don’t think it really fits the theme, and clearly was added by Bioware due to MMORPG concerns.
Planned / potential abilities:
Squaddie perks: pistol shot, point blank (no double tap), reload sawedoff, Blend In, Go Loud.
Blend In -> Automatically conceals the Smuggler if he begins turn with no enemies in sight. Stole this one from Musashi. Done. Since this is a squaddie perk, Smuggler gets reduced mobility while in concealment. Considered making this a global concealment change, but it would affect balance too much.
Go Loud -> Breaks concealment to lose the mobility penalty. Free action.
Lucky Shots -> +5% crit chance for the squad. Gains at a certain rank automatically? Done, rank configurable.
Point Blank is melee-like, with extra movement? – scratch that, too hard to implement properly.
Automatically gains Fan Fire, Quick Draw and Lightning Hands at certain levels? Should be a property of primary pistols instead of bonus damage, IMO. Would be better to set it up as a separate meta mod.
Crippling Shot -> pistol shot that always crits, applies a bleed effect and disorients. Additionally reduces enemy mobility? Affected by Quickdraw?
Jab -> Pistol Whip-like ability. Refunds an action point when used against a bleeding enemy.
Flechette Round -> spend an action to make your next Point Blank apply a bleed effect (and deal bonus damage?). Loads one shell into sawedoff. About half done.
Dirty Kick -> Originally smuggler’s ability.
Checkmate -> Same.
Shoot First -> Shadowstep behind the target and deliver apointblank shot from the sawedoff. Guaranteed hit (mostly a tech requirement rather than design choice). If used from Concealment, will also knockdown the enemy and stun them.
Sleeping Dart -> Usable only from concealment. Puts a target enemy to sleep if he’s not from an activated pod. This will activate the pod itself (or put them on high alert). If that enemy takes damage, there’s a chance (100%?) he will wake up. One enemy can be darted at a time? Doesn’t work against robotics.
Sneak -> Reduces detection radius to be on the level of Reapers. Temporarily?
Slicer -> Allows Smuggler to hack robotic enemies, and provides a passive hacking bonus. Same visualization as System Infiltration. If proper hacking is too difficult to implement, simply make this a bonus ability for sleeping dart, which would function the same, only for robots. Alternatively, make this a chance-based stun on robotics, although proper hacking would be best.
Vanish -> Gain concealment. Can be used in combat.
Smuggle (Colonel) -> Activate concealment for the whole squad. Usable once per mission. Requires that there are no active enemies? Concealment is lost if the ally moves too far from the smuggler.
Steal -> Identify an enemy with loot and retrieve it, then perform a defensive action moving into cover. Usable only from concealment, preserves concealment for the duration.
Flash Powder -> Extra Flashblangs, and Flashbanging doesn’t end turn.
Take Cover -> Free action, usable only on tiles in cover. Rolls into cover within movement range. Depends on how possible is visualization. There is already an animation for it in the game, but hard to tell how bad it would look.
Homing Mine (Sabotage Charge) -> Reaper copypaste. Not my fault Firaxis stole it from SW TOR. Usable only from cover? Only from concealment? Doesn’t end turn, probably. Limited amount of uses per mission, no utility item required.
Blaster Volley -> fire a shot against every enemy in front of you in a cone. There’s already an ability that does it in one of the class mods. Make sure to take advantage of robojumper’s visualization patcher.
Evade -> Gain X charges of Untouchable.
Additional perk: Escape -> Evade (and Vanish?) removes negative effects, including stun and disorientation, and can be used with those effects present.
Currently Released Mods
Dual Wielded Pistols and Akimbo Class
This combination of mods has been developed in close partnership with Musahi and robojumper, two famous and talented modders.
Dual Wielded Pistols must be used together with X2WOTC Community Highlander and Musashi’s Primary Secondaries, and it contains code that that allows designated classes to wield two pistols, as well as nearly 200 custom animations – created by me over months of toiling in 3DS MAX.
Akimbo Class mod adds a custom specifically built to take advantage of dual pistols, and it takes heavy inspiration from the movie Equilibrium and Star Wars: the Old Republic.
More perks and abilities, including:
- A perk that would allow Akimbo to reactively shoot enemy grenades mid-flight. Ginger has provided me with some tips on how to do that.
- Parry and counterattack ability – already have an animation for it, but code implementation proved to be far too difficult to do it pre-release.
- A “Locked On” type of perk that provides stacking bonuses for consecutive shots against the same enemy.
- An ability that allows you to shoot two enemies at the same time, or even chain shots like in that Equilibrium scene in the video above.
- An ability to shoot while moving or jumping, Max Payne-style.
- An ability to rapidly fire multiple shots at different targets. Basically, dual wielded Faceoff with better visualization, like this.
- Tackle ability that pushes enemy out of cover. Not sure what other effects it could have, to be honest, but it would look cool. First steps taken. This actually uses the “dive into cover” animation from unused game assets. Now I just have to adjust the animation and make it properly knockback enemies. Ginger gave me some tips for that.
- Need to investigate relationship between ragdolled enemies and stun. If stunned and ragdolled enemies remain lying on the ground until Stun wears off, then everything is fine. Otherwise I might need to write a custom effect that does it.
- Make Dual Pistols work the same way as Musashi’s Dual Wielded Melee, so that you don’t need a custom class just to shoot dual pistols. Should also make it compatible with Musashi’s RPG Overhaul.
- Dual wield autopistols and sawed-off shotguns, with their own skill trees and firing animations, which means they would need to be equipped as a pair.
- Utilize Arc Throwers as weapons that deal electric damage that bypasses armor, deals bonus damage to robotic enemies and applies various debuffs to organic ones. You’ll be able to utilize Arc Throwers in addition to – or instead of – normal pistols. Maybe they’ll have their own perks, such as:
- Chain Lightning -> Arc Throwers hit several enemies at once.
- Also, Arc Pistols should guarantee hits against enemies in water.
- A separate skill tree with perks related to power armor – EXO and WAR suits. Planned perks:
- Dual wield SMGs, which would incur a 25% mobility penalty. SMGs will have reduced magazine capacity 4 ammo total – 2 shots from each weapon by default.
- Rocket Punch ability – a heavy uppercut that ragdolls enemies, and launches them up and backwards.
- Ground Slam ability that makes the soldier smash the ground and damage and disorient nearby enemies. Will likely combine several existing animations for that, including Templar’s leap strike, Rage Suit’s smash and ADVENT Shieldbearer shield ability.
- Add a few missing animations, polish out existing animations and add surplus ones, so that certain abilities randomly pick one of several animations to play. Such as:
- Insert a pause between weapon shots. I.e. aim and shoot one pistol, raise it, aim and shoot second pistol – like Lucian in LoL.
- Add a dodging animation to Gun Kata.
- Check interactions with Headshotting Lost and Dual Shot.
- Add an activation animation for Limit Break (preferably cross class compatible).
- Add an optional reloading animation where the soldier “throws away” their current pistols, and pulls out “new” ones, like Neo did in Matrix and Reaper does in Overwatch.
- Improve sound design, add special FX to certain abilities, especially pistol spinning.
- I would love more Flyover text for more abilities, but I have no idea how it works. For now.
- Cleanup code, add more commentaries for those who’d want to base their own mods/abilities on mine, remove unused assets.
This mod provides an ability that becomes available alongside other Hacking-related actions. It provides a bonus to soldier’s Hacking stat until they move or take damage. Can be used several times. More info in the workshop description.
Currently I have one mod published in this category, Scouting Protocol, which provides a bonus ability to any class that has a GREMLIN equipped. This ability sends the GREMLIN to scout a specific area without alerting enemies, and it’s highly configurable in terms of cooldown and ability cost.
Planned Features for Scouting Protocol:
Make Scouting Protocol gain additional functionality when used with GREMLINs of higher tiers, or maybe after purchasing a certain upgrade at Engineering or Proving Grounds, which could also require an additional research. This additional functionality potentially includes:
- The ability for GREMLIN to stay hovering in place until manually recalled, providing constant surveillance of enemy positions, and allowing soldiers with Squadsight to engage enemies in GREMLIN’s vision.
- Higher tier of the ability could also Mark enemies to make them easier to hit.
Other abilities to improve GREMLINs:
Grab Loot – there was a vanilla mod that allowed GREMLIN users to safely and quickly grab loot dropped by enemies. I’d like to port that ability to WOTC, but it was always a bit too strong in my opinion, so I’ll likely make it a turn-ending action, and maybe enact other balancing measures, such as making it usable once per tactical game.
Resupply – when the GREMLIN user is equipped with an Ammo Belt utility item, give them the ability to provide Free Reloads to allies at a distance. See below for more info.
This my old mod for vanilla XCOM 2, before the WOTC expansion. It provides a utility item which can be used to reload the Cannon of a nearby Grenadier or Gunner, and it can be configured to be usable on all classes.
- Update for WOTC.
- Make it determine valid targets by equipped weapon, and not class. This will make the item usable on any modded classes that have Cannons equipped.
- When equipped on a soldier with a GREMLIN, Ammo Belt will provide the ability to give other soldiers Free Reloads. This will be different from just reloading their weapon, because IMO having a flying robot somehow push a magazine into your weapon is a silly idea.
- Ideally, add a few cosmetic Torso Gear items that would let the soldier actually wear their ammo belt. Make a different version for each weapon tier and major armor archetype.
I’d like to spice up the early game – especially for the Akimbo Class – to make ADVENT soldiers drop their weapons as loot. The chance would be low, and these weapons would drop only from low tier enemies which mostly stop appearing later into the campaign.
These weapons would be Magnetic-tier, and the player would have the option to use them as they are – before actually researching and building Magnetic weapons, or sell them for supplies on Black Market, or disassemble them to speed up Magnetic research or get attachments.
Currently I have implemented all of these features for ADVENT Magnetic Pistol. Maybe I will add a rifle as well.
I have also been pondering at adding a custom early game mission which would involve having to rescue the Reaper exile mentioned in the Akimbo Class mod from ADVENT Prison. In which case he would join the crew, and I’d like that mission to have an optional side objective of recovering a pair of modded ADVENT Pistols.
Beowulf Rifle Pack
This mod is inspired by real life AR-15 Beowulf, and fulfills my fantasy of compact Assault Rifles converted to use high caliber rounds, which results in superior damage and anti-armor properties, but reduced magazine size and crappy ballistics.
It adds a high-caliber rifle for each major weapon tier, buildable in Engineering. More info in the Workshop description.
Originally this was intended as a quick edit of weapon stats for autopistols, but then it turned out I have to also add extra animations, then I remembered that autopistols are missing attachments, and it all spiraled out of control.
In the end I’ve created a robust and full-blooded overhaul that changes autopistols from shunned and forgotten weapon class into an actual option, viable for regular use, and with seamless integration into the game, with or without other mods.
Rifle Grenades -> a utility item that you can equip instead of normal frag grenades. They would take an extra action to set up, and after that they can be “launched” with another action just like from the Grenade Launcher. However, the primary weapon would be unable to fire normally once the grenade is “put on”. Basically Rifle Grenades would provide the ability to Launch grenades without actually using the Grenade Launcher.
A standalone Jet Pack item. Just rip it off the Archon Armor. Would probably be a utility item, or maybe an armor like Spider Suit. Haven’t decided.
A bayonet weapon attachment. Would provide an ability to melee charge enemies. Might consider using Fleche mechanic from Long War 2 – the longer you run, the more damage it deals.
Underbarrel weapon attachments. There would be at least grenade launcher and shotgun, could be more. Could implement this in different ways:
- One could be a with a standalone rifleman class, which uses underbarrel attachment as their secondary weapon, and have various perks related to that ability.
- Other could be specifically as weapon attachments.
Both would be fun. In both cases I’d like to have a utility item that allows player to reload these attachments.
Standalone Rocket Launcher mod. I hate the puny “heavy weapons” in XCOM 2, and I’d like to create a mod that adds a full-sized rocket launcher for infantry, carried as a secondary weapon and fired from the shouldered position. Basically make it work like in original XCOM Long War, with the ability to carry additional rockets of various properties in utility slots. Might make a special class for it, although making it work with existing Heavy Weapon and Grenade perks would be ideal.
Shoulder Rocket Pods for EXO Suits, MECs and SPARKs. I love Mech Warrior, enough said.
Demon Slash-like sword ability, that would teleport the soldier through the enemy, and deal damage only once the sword is sheathed.
Gunblade Mod. Nothing like a sword that can also shoot.
VSSK Exhaust weapon mod – a suppressed sniper rifle chambered in .50 caliber.
Piercing Shot ability – a sniper rifle shot that ragdolls and knockbacks enemies, as well as pierces and shreds armor.
Gladiator class – inspired by Lineage 2 class with the same name, Gladiator uses dual swords and has a number of ranged abilities. Class traits:
- Extra armor and HP, reduced Will and Mobility.
- Uses Sonic Charges to power skills. The more charges, the more powerful are skills.
Planned perks / abilities, in rough order of progression:
- Sonic Focus -> grants sonic charges when activated. Amount of charges granted and maximum charge increases with soldier rank.
- Triple Slash -> standard melee attack. Doesn’t scale with charges.
- Sonic Blaster -> staple ranged attack, requires 2 charges. Can crit. Has cooldown.
- Double / Triple Sonic Slash -> powerful melee attacks that deal bonus damage. Require 3 and 4 charges respectively. DSS can crit, while TSS ignores armor. TSS by itself is about 30% more powerful than DSS.
- Sonic Buster / Sonic Storm -> deal small amount of splash damage. Require 2 charges but do not consume them. Can crit. Sonic Buster hits enemies near the Gladiator, while Sonic Storm is used as a ranged attack.
- Sonic Rage -> Weak ranged ability that provides a sonic charge.
- Vicious Stance -> consumes Will when activated, increase crit damage.
- War Frenzy -> Consumes Will to provide a temporary immunity to stuns and unconscious effects.
- Sonic Move -> Consumes 3 charges to provide temporary mobility boost.
- Riposte Stance -> Consumes Will, reduces Aim and Mobility. Provides a chance to Reflect enemy attacks.
- “Overhit” plays a role in LA2. Perhaps, make Overhit grant Sonic Charges?
- Most abilities have cooldowns and it matters.
- Additional perk ideas here.
Requested mod: some improvements to Psi Operatives. They are to get a Psi Blink ability that would teleport them 5-6 tiles as a free action with several turn cooldown, and gain access to Psi Rifle, similar to the one used by Commander’s Avatar, with 3 upgrade slots.
More consistent Purifiers: change Purifier “explode on death” feature to work like Sustain, so that when a Purifier receives lethal damage, he falls on his knees engulfed in flames with 1 HP remaining, and the next source of damage will make him explode. Or he will explode automatically on the next turn.