Don’t adjust your set- it isn’t broken. And it isn’t just deja vu, either. If you thought you’d seen this one already, that’s because… well, you have.

The problem there, was that even though I had launched into Vanilla XCOM 2 and disabled the DLC from within the game itself when starting the campaign, parts of it were still on anyway. It was actually one of the things I was afraid of when I saw aspects still poking into the game, such as particular cosmetics and the starting DLC weaponry.

Turns out the answer is to completely uninstall the DLC from Steam prior to launch.

So I’ve done that now. And here we are again, on a fresh run of the campaign to generate a new save file that won’t crash the game of everyone down the line properly running XCOM 2 vanilla!

If you didn’t see the previous version of the post — don’t worry. Everything that happened there is now in some strange, alternate reality version of the campaign and I’ll treat this post as a fresh start.

Starting with the participants!

The Participants

  1. Naithin (Me!)
  2. Mr Peril (aka Roger)
  3. Rakuno
  4. MagiWasTaken (aka Dan)
  5. Rambling Redshirt
  6. Kluwes
  7. UnwiseOwl

UnwiseOwl carrying the end and passing back to me is the same as the Civ game, but this time I’ll be handing over to Mr Peril rather than Rakuno. :) Looking forward to seeing how it play out from here!

Mission 1: Operation Gatecrasher

The thing I’m instantly curious in is who from the character pool of blogger characters have I been entrusted (that might be too strong a term) to play with right out of the gate?

The answer is:

  • Unwise ‘UnwiseOwl’ Owl
  • Rakuno ‘Three’ Venmuel
  • Lizz ‘Magi’ Winterfield
  • Easha ‘Silentdeath’ Dustfeather

As for the mission; if you’re unfamiliar — Operation Gatecrasher is the mission you always get when you disable the tutorial. It’s a real mission, but still an incredibly basic one. So playing on Rookie as we are, anyone at all who has played XCOM 2 before should have no problem with it, and no need to reload their game.

I really shouldn’t have used the vehicles as cover so much though. I sucked in my breath when Easha took fire behind one, waiting for it to catch fire and explode before I could react. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. This time.

Fortunately, in this instance of the multiverse — that is exactly how it plays out. Not a single soldier is sent home with so much as a scratch.

The whole mission is fairly uneventful. Advent soldiers die. The statue blows up. It’s all a bit rote- like we’ve done this before.

Perhaps the one eyebrow quirking feature of the run is what an absolute murderer Magi’s character — Lizz Winterfield — turned out to be. Three kills to her name as a rookie on one mission. Don’t make an enemy of this one, eh?

Back at Base

Soldier Promotions

I would normally attempt to balance the kills out a little more… but uh… Yeah. Magi annihilated everyone. The flank shot opportunity was too good to pass up, and Easha was acting rear-guard.

Despite the less-than-balanced kill count, everyone promoted from Rookie to Squaddie. Still a very basic soldier, but now equipped with a specialty class and their class’ entry skill.

  • Unwise ‘UnwiseOwl’ Owl — Specialist, Aid Protocol
  • Rakuno ‘Three’ Venmuel — Grenadier, Launch Grenade
  • Lizz ‘Magi’ Winterfield — Sharpshooter, Squad Sight
  • Easha ‘Silentfeather’ Dustfeather — Ranger, Slash

The entry skills aren’t selected — they simply come with the class. But future promotions will provide the person in control at that point a choice. :)

Research, Engineering and Scanning

A lot of this happens in parallel, as you scan the world map, so I’ve thrown them all together here in summary form.

Over the course of my turn, I:

I wasn’t quite able to finish scanning for the additional Rookies before the next mission pops up. So it will be up to Roger to decide to finish collecting the Rookies or whether we have something more important on the map when he returns from that mission. :)

I also haven’t attached our loot to any particular soldier yet. So that will be a decision for Roger or a later player as well!

The last thing I want to cover that I did before ending my session was the game was checking on our current pool of Rookies. Who else from the character pool made it in? It won’t be everyone — some we will need to recruit/gain as rewards through the campaign, but let’s see…

Neat! Nice mix between characters playing and bloggers not playing but keen to be in the mix. I’m sure we’ll recover more of both sets as we continue through the campaign. :)

For the Players

Expansion / DLC OFF

Updated Instructions: It is necessary (if you own any of the DLC) to fully disable/uninstall all XCOM 2 DLC from the Steam ‘Manage DLC’ option for the game.

The button in the lower right of this segment, while looking at your XCOM 2 game page in Steam.

This will ensure no-one following on from you without the DLC will have it crash. Fixing this up myself was the reason for this reset.


XCOM 2 doesn’t exactly make this easy for us. Unlike Civilisation VI which you could name the save files specifically — XCOM 2 saves hold the save name and campaign information as part of their data and have a forced file name format of ‘save###’.

Fortunately — you can edit the number, and the game will understand it no problem.

So after saving the game, I have manually changed the name of it to save1000 — hopefully, a high enough number that there shouldn’t be any conflicts with existing saves you might have.

  • Where will save games be uploaded?
    Here — you can find the saves for this game there, and please upload your save files here too.

    Here’s the direct link to the save game for you though, Mr Peril. :)
  • Where do I put save game files, so that my game can find them?
    XCOM 2 puts games into:
    Documents > My Games > XCOM2 > XComGame > SaveData

    You will need to download the save game to this location for the game to read it. You will also have to come to this folder to find your save game to rename and then upload to the linked Google Drive folder above.
  • What should I rename my save game file to, before uploading it?
    The short answer is +1 over the file you receive. I’ve saved the initial file as save1000 — Mr Peril should save his as save1001, Rakuno as save1002, and so on.

    Unfortunately, to make this even more complicated, XCOM 2 will not continue to increment from the number the save starts at. It will backfill numbering to be +1 over the lowest number currently taken in your save game directory.

    So when you go looking for the save file you need to upload, you’ll need to identify it by the file’s timestamp and match that to the time you saved it to find the right one, rename it, and upload it.

What are the rules, and how much do I play?

  • Rules?
    We’ve set only one rule really — and that is that you can reload to an autosave during your turn, once per round, or once per you being in control of the game. How far back you reload (i.e., right to the start of the mission, or just a few turns) is entirely up to you.

    And you know what? With how many new players we have here, this isn’t even something I’m terribly worried about how closely it gets adhered to. But I would just say — remember there is fun in failure. There are stories to be told that have real weight and impact when not everything goes perfectly all the time. I think we’re expecting to lose to the aliens this time around anyway. And that’s OK. :)
  • How much do I play?
    When you download the save game — there should be a mission waiting for you to pick up. You should jump into that mission before doing anything else that causes time to pass in-game.

    You can check Engineering if there is anything else you want to build before jumping in, or you can look at the soldier pool from the armory to see who is available for combat right now. Those sorts of non-time passing activities are fine.

    You get to pick the soldiers you take, and their loadout for the mission. And then, of course, play that mission to completion — win or lose.

    Once you’re back from the mission, you can do anything in the base — including things that make time pass, such as scanning on the global map.

    You can do that until a mission prompt appears. Sometimes you’ll get weeks of scanning time, sometimes it might only be a day or two. But once that mission prompt comes up — escape out, save the game (rename it as outlined above) and upload it for the next person. :)


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.