Long War 2 FAQ: Answers to Frequent Questions on How LW2 Works
This article answers all of the most common XCOM 2 Long War 2 gameplay questions. I’ve also written several other articles that any Long War 2 players, both new or experienced may benefit from:
- Long War 2: Essential Info Before Starting a Campaign
- Long War 2: The Best / Recommended LW2 Compatible Mods List
- Long War 2: How to Identify each of the 5 Liberation Missions (and what to expect in each mission)
What’s So Important About Liberation Missions?
Liberation missions are a key part of moving the story forward in Long War 2. Once you liberate your first region, the Avatar Project countdown timer is revealed and the Advent Blacksite country location / mission is also revealed. Once the Blacksite is revealed you should start contacting whatever resistance regions are necessary in order to reach the country the Blacksite is located in.
Unfortunately the liberation missions aren’t explained in game other than the vague hint “find a lead” objective shown in the upper left.
What Exactly is “Advent Strength?”
Higher advent strength means missions will have higher “baseline enemy activity.” That means you will face more enemies in the mission.
The enemy activity seems to go up a level (meaning +3 additional enemies) every 1 or 2 points of advent strength increase.
- Advent Strength 1 = Baseline Enemy Activity: Extremely Light (6-9)
- Advent Strength 2 = Baseline Enemy Activity: (6-9) or (10-12)
- Advent Strength 3 = Baseline Enemy Activity: Very Light (10-12)
- it roughly follows this pattern, but doesn’t seem to always match up 100%
Over time (I believe based mostly on the in game date) new, tougher enemy types will also appear like Mutons and Andromedons.
How Does Advent Strength Work in Long War 2?
There is a limited number of advent strength “battalions” in the world. The number slowly increases as the in game calendar progresses. Advent will move around its limited strength numbers as it sees fit. If you do a lot of missions in one region, Advent will soon move more strength there. It may take a couple of weeks for the strength to increase.
How to Reduce Advent Strength in a Region in LW2
It is recommended gather intel and take missions in regions with low strength, (ideally strength 1 or 2 early and mid game.) Then, when Advent moves its strength there, go to a new region. You will need to regularly contact new regions for this.
- It is possible to temporarily stop Advent from moving its strength into a region if you reveal a specific mission through intel gathering. The mission description will clearly say it will stop Advent’s movements.
- On rare occassions, generally later on in the game, it is also possible to reduce advent strength if you reveal a specific mission. The mission will be to attack an enemy Advent column. Again, this is pretty rare and there is no way to completely stop Advent strength from increasing over time.
- Also, you can reduce strength in a region by setting resistance members to the “Hiding” task and then avoid doing any missions there. Over time the Advent strength will move elsewhere. This can be helpful if you want to lower strength in a region in order to have an easier time on liberation missions there.
- Lastly, you can complete a “Get Advent’s Attention” mission in a neighboring region, then hope that Advent moves its strength out of the region you want.
What is Baseline Enemy Activity in Long War 2?
This is closely related to Advent Strength. Baseline Enemy Activity is how many enemies you will encounter on the mission if you infiltrate to 100%. The baseline enemy activity on a mission can be lowered by infiltrating more than 100%.
If you don’t infiltrate to 100%, there will be more enemies on the mission than what was shown in on the baseline enemy activity. You should generally ignore or abort any mission where you can’t infiltrate to at least 100%.
It is possible to lower the number of enemies you will see on a mission by three levels by infiltrating to 125%, 150%, and 200%. You can do this by boosting infiltration (costs 25 intel), or by finding a mission with a long expiration timer such as 9 days.
- 6-9 enemies: Extremely Light
- 10-12 enemies: Very Light
- 13-15 enemies: Light
- 16-18 enemies: Light-Moderate
- 19-21 enemies: Moderate
- 22-24 enemies: Moderate-Heavy
- 25-27 enemies: Heavy
- 28-30 enemies: Very Heavy
- 30-32 enemies: Extremely Heavy
- 33+ enemies: Swarming
- Swarming can continue to go up ++++. I have seen missions that were Swarming+++ (60+ enemies)
Why are Liberation Missions Harder?
Most liberation missions (other than mission #1) are tougher than other missions in that region. On Mission #2 and #3 the Advent strength will be effectively increased by 3.
For example if other missions in the region are currently Baseline Enemy Activity: Extremely Light (6-9 enemies), a liberation mission will probably be Very Light (10-12 enemies) or Light (13-15 enemies.)
Liberation Mission #5 has a much, much higher enemy activity level. Even in a region with a low Advent Strength of 2 or 3, the baseline activity will probably be Swarming (33 enemies). However you can also bring the maximum number of soldiers on it and it has no expiration timer.
Liberation Chain Progression Might Reset if You Fail (?)
Update: Progress doesn’t reset anymore. In previous versions of LW2, if you failed mission #3 (or possibly any of missions 2-5) the mission chain in that region would reset. However in my testing this seems to have been changed in a patch.
When Should I Liberate a Region in LW2?
Simple answer: start right away, finish liberating one region by June or July in game. Earlier is better!
You should make it your first and most important priority in your campaign to liberate at least one region, though you can definitely liberate more.
In my most recent Long War 2 (LW2 v1.4, Veteran) things went well, I prioritized liberation missions and I was able to finish liberating my first region in mid June on the in-game calendar. The Avatar Project countdown timer had only 2 pips of progress at that point. I would guess the earliest its possible to finish liberating a region would be mid to late May.
- Tip: I would recommend getting at least laser weapons to help complete your first liberation mission #4 and #5.
How Can I Get Supplies In LW2?
Early game you should be aware that you will probably be VERY low on supplies, so spend wisely. There are a few ways to get supplies:
- Set resistance members to the supply task
- Station an Engineer as a Haven Advisor to increase effectiveness of the supply task
- Sell items in the Black Market
- Complete missions with Enemy Materiel as a reward
- Complete missions that give full salvage (so you can sell corpses)
What “Unknown Source” is Stealing Supplies?
You will see your supply drops get drained by an unknown source. This is caused by some of your resistance members being Advent spies. There is no way to avoid getting these spies when you recruit resistance members, but you can root them out. To reveal and kill the spies, station your highest ranking soldier as a Haven Advisor. Eventually this will trigger a mission where you interrupt a spy rendezvous with Advent and you will kill the spies (up to 2 per mission.)
Higher ranking soldiers have a better chance to trigger the spy reveal mission so try to use them as Haven Advisors. Officer levels also add to the chance. High level Psi Operatives are the best, but only once they get to a high level (something like roughly 5+ promotions.)
- Tip: If only 1 civilian morphs into a Faceless on the rendezvous mission, that likely means that that region is now free of spies. (Note that there will always be other Faceless on the mission, but watch for how many actually morph.) This is the only way to really know which regions have had all the spies cleared out.
What Difficulty Should I Play Long War 2 On?
Long War 2 is much, much harder and less forgiving than the base Vanilla XCOM 2 game. For people who only play Ironman (no reloading of saves) I definitely recommend Beginner difficulty. If you do some “save scumming” (reloading saves) then you may manage on Veteran but I’d still recommend Beginner.
I would say Veteran difficulty in LW2 is equal to the hardest difficulty in most games.
Out of 300,000+ LW2 players, you can count on one hand the number of people who beat Long War 2 in Iron Man mode on Legend difficulty. They are people who have thousands of hours playing XCOM 2. They beta tested and developed the Long War 2 mod itself and know how to manipulate the game mechanics to min-max everything..
If you are okay with failing your first LW2 campaign (which may take 50 hours to do) and want a very tough challenge, then go for Veteran. After hundreds of hours playing, I still think Veteran is a bit too hard on Iron Man mode.
I would definitely suggest playing through XCOM 2’s base game before playing Long War 2.
How Long is a Long War 2 Campaign? How Long Will it Take to Beat?
Its about 90-110 hours for a Long War 2 campaign, from start to finish. This includes only one campaign attempt, but most people end up restarting multiple campaigns as they learn the LW2 mechanics.