XCOM: Enemy Within

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XCOM: Enemy Within is an expansion pack for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It was released on November 12th, 2013 in North America and November 15th 2013 elsewhere. Announced at Gamescom 2013, XCOM: Enemy Within adds new abilities, upgrades, weapons, and a new soldier class to combat new enemy threats. This expansion pack also introduces new resources, new maps, new tactical and strategic gameplay, and new multiplayer content.

XCOM: Enemy Within is available as a download for PCs and Macs for $29.99. For consoles it is only available in disc format as XCOM: Enemy Within – Commander Edition, a standalone expanded experience that includes all XCOM: Enemy Unknown content plus the Elite Soldier and Slingshot add-ons, for $39.99.


XComEW Meld symbol
XComEW Meld symbol
XComEW Meld symbol

Meld is a new resource that is found in containers that can be recovered in most mission types. Recovering Meld opens up a new research project called Meld Recombination which unlocks two new base facilities: Genetics Lab and Cybernetics Lab. In the Genetic Lab, Meld can be used to grant soldiers super-human abilities through Gene Mods. In the Cybernetics Lab, Meld can be used to transform soldiers into MEC Troopers and to build MECs for them to use in combat.

  • The addition of Meld doesn't significantly change the research/tech tree; instead, most Meld related tech and upgrades are unlocked as part of existing research like alien autopsies.
  • Although using this resource will require the construction of two extra facilities in the base, the Genetics Lab and Cybernetics Lab have the added bonus of counting as Laboratories and a Workshop, respectively, for the purpose of adjacency bonuses.

Gene ModsEdit

  • Alien Autopsies will reveal genetic modifications ("Gene Mods" or "G-mods") for your soldiers which can be applied in the Genetics Labs.
  • Any soldier except MEC Troopers can receive Gene Mods. A soldier with Gene Mod can undergo Psi testing and the modifications will stack with Psi abilities.
  • Soldiers with Gene Mods will receive unique versions of the various armor types (featuring sleeveless armor designs and their own armor deco options) and will have access to 8 different armor deco options just for them.
  • Gene Mods can be applied to the following categories: Brain, Eyes, Chest, Skin, Legs, with 2 options available for each (and that can be swapped at a cost).
  • Applying individual Gene Mods will cost variable amounts of credits and Meld (5-35 Meld per mod) and will remove a soldier from active duty for about 3 days per mod.

MEC TrooperEdit

  • With the Cybernetics Lab, MEC Troopers can be created from any soldier class, maintaining their rank but losing all abilities and Gene Mods they previously had; Rookies cannot become MEC Troopers. MEC Troopers replace their arms and legs with cybernetic implants but they are still human enough to be affected by Psionic abilities, including Mind Control.
  • MEC Troopers cannot be genetically modified or undergo Psi testing; a Psionic soldier cannot become a MEC Trooper.
  • A MEC Trooper does not use regular equipment in combat but instead utilizes a Mechanized Exoskeleton Cybersuit (aka MEC Suit). MEC Suits grant MEC Troopers armor and several additional bonuses and can be armed with a Minigun, Railgun or Particle Cannon; as a disadvantage, MECs are incapable of using cover. MEC Suits can be upgraded through three tiers, each of which has a different name, set bonus stats and selection of Tactical Subsystems.
  • MEC Troopers retain and gain experience and ranks conventionally and have their own unique training tree.
  • MEC Suits have armor deco options that paint different patterns on the suit.

New EnemiesEdit

New AliensEdit

The expansion introduces two new alien types:

XCOM EW Mechtoid
The Mechtoid is a Sectoid in a Mech suit. It is a robotic unit armed with twin Plasma Mini-Cannons and can fire twice in a turn if it doesn't move. Mechtoids don't utilize cover but have a solid block of health (20 HP on normal). Sectoids can Mind Merge with a Mechtoid to give it a Psi Shield which grants a health buff and reduces damage against the Mechtoid by half. Mechtoids start showing up during the mid-game, about the same time as Cyberdiscs.
XCOM EW Seeker
The Seeker is a flying squid-like robotic unit. Capable of cloaking themselves for a limited number of turns, the Seekers utilize a brand new AI that focuses on hit and run style attacks. Seekers are spotted in pairs but largely act individually (i.e. can strike during different turns) and have a preference for attacking isolated units with their special Strangle attack. Seekers start being encountered early in the game (mid-to-late April).



The expansion introduces a new enemy faction in the form of a secret human paramilitary society titled EXALT. EXALT works to disrupt XCOM's activities as they see XCOM as a rival in the acquisition of alien technology and an impediment to the aliens' human experimentation. To this end, EXALT sets up sleeper cells in Council nations around the world; the cell's hidden presence magnifies the effects of any panic the country may receive. Furthermore a cell can go active, performing one of three different EXALT Operations against XCOM: Sabotage, steals funding from XCOM; Propaganda, increase panic in the country where the cell is located; or a Research Hack, reverses progress on the project currently being researched.

To counter EXALT's activities, the Council has provided XCOM with additional resources which can be accessed via a new Covert Operations menu in the Situation Room. From here the player is able to perform Intel Scans for hidden EXALT cells and launch Covert Operations against identified cells (but only one cell at time). Successful Covert Operations will yield EXALT Intel that grants clues to the location of EXALT's main base. Once XCOM successfully identifies the EXALT headquarters, the player will be able to initiate a base assault mission to eliminate the terrorist group once and for all.

In addition to the strategic threat posed by EXALT, the organization's operatives will present a very real tactical threat during Covert Operation missions. EXALT introduces eight new enemies to the game: four standard units and four upgraded, genetically modified Elite units. These paramilitary agents may be dressed like bankers but they have abilities and equipment that match those utilized by XCOM. Also like XCOM, EXALT soldiers come in four classes that may be encountered in the field.

Class Changes and New TechnologyEdit

Support Class

  • Covering Fire now fires before the enemy uses its weapon.
  • Smoke and Mirrors now provides two additional Smoke Grenade uses.
  • Deep Pockets now gives an additional charge to limited use items like Grenades, Arc Throwers, Medikits, etc.

Assault Class

  • Close and Personal now gives a free shot when within 4 tiles of an enemy. Cannot be combined with Run & Gun.

Heavy Class

  • HEAT Ammo damage bonus reduced to +50% against robots.
  • Grenadier now gives +1 damage to Frag, Alien and Needle Grenades in addition to its usual bonus of allowing you to carry two in one item slot.

Sniper Class

  • Snap Shot aim penalty reduced from -20 to -10.
  • Squad Sight only gives Critical Damage if Headshot is used.

New items:

New Foundry projects:

Gameplay and Interface ChangesEdit

  • The game intro receives a new quote, replacing the one from Arthur C. Clarke:
XCOM(EW) DevilsToys
  • There is a new tutorial mission introducing Meld that can be played in addition to or in place of the regular tutorial mission or disabled completely.
  • Enemies that don't utilize cover (Mechtoids, Cyberdiscs, Sectopods) may enter Overwatch when spotted.
  • Sectopods receive a new passive ability/trait called Reinforced Armor that halves all incoming damage; this was added in order to increase their toughness when compared to the Mechtoid.
  • Psionic powers remain largely unchanged except for some bug fixes related to some of the AoE abilities.
  • There have been several major bug fixes (including the "teleport bug" and a variety of cover related bugs). There also has been a patch for the Slingshot Content Pack, as Shaojie Zhang can now be given custom facial hair and armor decos.
  • Panic rebalanced to make it less likely for soldiers to fire on their squad mates; panic will now include an Aim penalty which will also make those rarer incidents of "friendly fire" less likely to hit.
  • Critical chance bonus of stealth attacks reduced from 100% to 30%.
  • The Foundry now counts as a Workshop for the purpose of adjacency bonuses.
  • Laboratories offer some incremental protection against Research Hacks by EXALT.
  • Don't Die On Me has been removed from the Officer Training School due to the addition of the Secondary Heart Gene Mod. It is replaced with Lead By Example: The squad leader substitutes his or her Will for that of all nearby lower-Will squadmates.
  • Medals can be earned by completing certain tasks on missions and then can be awarded to individual soldiers. There are 5 different types of Medals. Medal types can be renamed and each type allows you choose between one of two potential buffs.
  • Normal difficulty may actually be slightly easier to beat due to the new tech, but Classic and Impossible difficulties have become more challenging; in addition to the threat of new enemies, research times and experience required for soldiers to rank up have been increased.
  • New Second Wave options:
    • Aiming Angles: Units receive aim bonus the closer to flanking an enemy they are.
    • Save Scum: Loading a saved game will reset the random number seed, so taking an identical action may yield different results.
    • Itchy Trigger Tentacle: Non-cover aliens (Mechtoids, Cyberdiscs, Sectopods) have a 50% chance of firing at your soldiers upon being spotted.
    • Training Roulette: Each soldier's training tree will be mostly randomly generated. Does not apply to MEC Troopers.
      • After a Soldier receives a Class and their first ability, additional ranks can grant randomized abilities from a pool of the all the Class abilities sets minus any skills that are dependent on a specific weapons (which are still Class locked). So you could have an Assault with Sprinter or a Heavy with Deep Pockets.
    • Mind Hates Matter: Psionic soldiers can't become gene modded or vice-versa.
  • Pre-mission/squad selection User Interface improvements: Equipped items for soldiers now appear below each soldier's name and rank.  There is also a button ("Make items available") that strips all equipment from any soldiers not currently assigned to the Skyranger team.
  • The Memorial Wall now features "killed by" information with each soldier's name and which medals they were awarded.
  • There are new helmets, new armor decos for all armor types, and even new tint colors for customizing your soldiers. Additionally, the colorization of weapons is now affected by the tinting chosen for armor.
  • You can now personalize your soldier's voice using the available audio packs for the current language localizations: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Polish. Polish soldiers are now available for recruitment.
  • There is an option to disable Dr. Vahlen's and Dr. Shen's tutorial voice overs.

New MapsEdit

  • There are new maps; 47 new maps officially, but is realistically about half that number due to Covert Operations (see below) re-utilizing new and old map types but requiring new squad and enemy spawn points. New map types will include a bank, a new truck stop, a roadhouse, an ice cream shop, a coffee shop, a hydroelectric dam, a tire shop, a rural highway construction site and several new crashed UFO maps (notably a few urban crashes and one at a farm).
  • Some of the original Enemy Unknown maps have been "tweaked", some to address exploding cars issues and to add Meld containers while other have been adapted for new mission types. Old and new maps will be mixed together but the game is set so that you'll see more of the new Enemy Within maps during a gameplay (for initial playthroughs but evening out over time).

New MissionsEdit

Covert OperationsEdit

XCOM EW CovertOperative Surprise
Covert Operations are new tactical missions used to counter the threat posed by EXALT. Covert Operations are initiated from the Situation Room and require the dispatch of a Covert Operative. The Covert Operative remains unavailable for other missions during the several days in which they complete their assignment and then signal for extraction. If the Covert Operative is not extracted they will be lost. Extracting the Covert Operative requires the player to send a regular squad (which they will control as well as the Covert Operative) to complete one of two new Covert Operation mission types:
  • Covert Data Recovery: Requires the defense of an Encoder and a Transmitter against a large horde of aggressive EXALT agents in a "King of the Hill" type scenario until all enemies are eliminated.
  • Covert Extraction: Requires the Covert Operative to hack two specific EXALT Comm Arrays and then safely reach the extraction zone.  This mission does not actually require the complete elimination of the enemy for success.

There are 10 maps available for each mission type with some utilizing new maps introduced with the expansion and others give a new spin to existing maps.

Operation ProgenyEdit

XCOM EW ProgenyCharacter
The expansion includes Operation Progeny, a new side plot consisting of three new Council Missions set in France; it was originally planned as a DLC release like the Slingshot Content Pack, but has has been tweaked to fit with the expansion's new narrative elements. Like Slingshot, it can be enabled or disabled separately from the game's start up menu. Narratively the missions involve of all three of Enemy Within's factions and has a tie in with the XCOM Base Defense mission (see below).

The first mission can be requested by the Council fairly early in the campaign and involves XCOM's first contact with EXALT. After finding an injured EXALT soldier in France XCOM troops are required to escort him to the extraction zone for interrogation. Much later in the campaign XCOM is sent to a hydroelectric dam where they encounter Annette Durand in the back of a truck with a dead EXALT operative. She originally tries to flee from them and demonstrates a psionic ability that staggers the XCOM troops. However after looking at the destruction around the dam and realizing XCOM's ability to fight the aliens she urges them to save her friends. Annette can then join the ranks of XCOM (Sergeant rank, class is randomized) and will become a psionic trooper if tested in the Psionic Labs.

In Operation Progeny's final mission XCOM attempts to rescue Annette's friends, who are being kept captive in suspended animation for their rare psionic abilities. As XCOM enter the facility in which the psionics are being held an alarm is triggered and XCOM is required to locate and destroy the control panel for their stasis pods in 12 turns. Failing to locate and destroy the control panel results in the psionics being euthanized. Saving them in time results in the three captives also joining XCOM's ranks. Even though these soldiers are psionic, like Annette, they still must be tested in the Psionic Labs before they are able to use psionic abilities.

Following the rescue mission Doctor Vahlen explains that the reason why EXALT and the aliens were interested in Annette and her friends was because they were able to amplify the psionic abilities of others. With this power they aided the aliens' invasion on the XCOM base by boosting their psionic strength, allowing them to mind control XCOM soldiers without being in the direct vicinity.  However due to brain trauma it's unlikely that they'll ever demonstrate unique psionic powers ever again, but are still eligible to learn the general psionic abilities. 

XCOM Base DefenseEdit

XCOM EW BaseDefense EngineeringSabotaged
This is a new essential mission included in the expansion; an abridged mission playthrough and the book end cut scenes are shown in this GameSpot video. This mission plays out on a massive new map which details Delta section, an area of the XCOM headquarters located behind Mission Control. The player will control a randomly assigned squad of soldiers from the Barracks (with whatever equipment they possess at the time the mission triggers) and several XCOM Base Security personnel (Rookie level soldiers with default equipment). The player will have to fight and eliminate several waves of aliens but will receive additional reinforcements (groups of Security personnel each with another randomly assigned soldier) as the mission progresses. Failing this mission will result in a game loss.

Site ReconEdit

XCOM(EW) SiteRecon Docks

A special Council Mission taking place in Canada.

Our sources indicate a developing incident in Newfoundland, up the coast from St. John's. A fishing village has gone dark: reports from intel sources suggest alien involvement. We should send a team to investigate the site and figure out what happened.


  • You can now edit your squad and save several load outs in offline mode.
  • Multiplayer unit costs have been rebalanced: Rookies and other basic units have received point reductions as have AoE weapons like grenades and rockets.
  • Mechtoid and Seeker added.
  • EXALT agents added.
  • 8 more maps for Multiplayer.


XCOM: Enemy Within has 30 new console achievements and trophies to unlock.


Official ScreenshotsEdit

Additional ResourcesEdit

Community 2K @ PAX Prime 2013
Strategy Masterminds Mega Panel @ the 5:45 hour mark
Interview with Lead Designer Ananda Gupta @ the 34 minute mark

Firixas Developer Blogs
The Seeker
The Mechtoid
Who is EXALT?

Wikia Expert Showcase (Special Edition)
XCOM: Enemy Within Community Question Answers

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