War of the Chosen Mod Recs: Quality of Life Improvements

This is a list of mods I make use of anytime I'm playing War of the Chosen, regardless of the particulars of the run I'm currently doing, most of which I basically consider essential because War of the Chosen without mods is largely still using the base game's UI design even though War of the Chosen is a radically different experience that really requires more individual information be provided up-front, among other differences War of the Chosen doesn't properly accommodate for.

I'd recommend playing through the game once without mods just so you can properly appreciate the difference, but that's it. Mods really make that dramatic a difference in how smooth and enjoyable an experience the game is.

Extended Information

Extended Information is a huge quality-of-life improvement, displaying hit chance on Overwatch shots (Something you'd be able to guesstimate on your own, and I don't understand why the game doesn't provide it already), providing a visual breakdown of what can actually happen with a shot when considering one (ie what the proportionately likelihood of a miss/hit/graze/crit is), and just generally providing a huge improvement to the accessibility of information.

Crucially, it alters the damage preview on the HP bar to display your minimum damage, instead of your maximum damage, letting you quickly identify whether a given shot is a guaranteed kill shot or not. This is a huge improvement, and would be worth it all by itself.

The only part of it that could be considered a cheat is that it includes the target's Dodge chance, which in normal play is invisible. If you want to go into War of the Chosen not knowing what all has Dodge the instant you encounter it, well, maybe do a run or three without it on.

Notably, this mod is the primary reason I discovered that Concealment ensures your attack can't be a Graze, since the game normally provides no evidence this mechanic exists. It would take a lot of playtime to have any reasonable chance of organically noticing attacks from Concealment never Graze; your Graze chance on a shot is never higher than 33%, so it's not like it's particularly conspicuous if any given shot fails to Graze, and often in a given mission you'd only get literally one shot that benefits, as follow-up Overwatch shots in an Overwatch ambush are not Graze-proof so only whoever breaks squad Concealment benefits unless you've brought a Reaper, a soldier with Phantom/Conceal, or have gotten Conceal from a Sitrep. Even with Extended Information on, it took me a while to notice this mechanic!

And it's a pretty important mechanic...

Detailed Soldier Lists

This makes it so the soldier list screen -the one that is used for, among other things, picking which soldiers to send into a Covert Op, with no ability to click into the individual soldier summaries- displays much more information about soldiers, including current/max Will, Combat Intelligence rating, Hack stat, Mobility, current/max HP, Aim, and Dodge stat. This makes it considerably less of a pain to identify your Gifted and Genius soldiers when wanting to improve Combat Intelligence, better keep track of which Specialist(s) you've been giving Hack boosts to, who all could use more Aim, etc.

It also makes it so that hovering over a soldier's slot will highlight their Bondmate's Bond icon, if they have one, making it much easier to sort out who all is Bondmates, both for Covert Operator purposes and for regular mission purposes.

I personally consider this essential to War of the Chosen; the functionality it provides is so important that the game is simply incredibly frustrating to play without it.

Goes extremely well with...

Extended Personnel Info

Makes it so hovering over a soldier's slot in the soldier list pops up additional information in the upper-left and upper-right, including currently equipped weapon, currently equipped armor, Weapon Attachments, current list of skills...

This is particularly appreciated when setting up for a Covert Op with Ambush Risk, so you can readily see if someone needs to be equipped (or stripped of their gear, whichever you prefer for an Ambush) without having to manually pop into their screen after assigning them.

But it's very nice in general, among other points being convenient when you're wanting to find a specific weapon to slot in a new Weapon Attachment.

Enhanced AOE Preview

By default, area of effect attacks will let you know whether any given target will be hit by an area of effect attack or not, but they won't predict damage on enemy HP bars... even though they do tell you the damage, so you can figure it out yourself.

This is particularly nice when using Ionic Storm, since the game doesn't inform you of the damage against psionic enemies. Enhanced AOE Preview will let you see that, yes, dropping a Storm in the middle of a pod of Codices will do more damage than doing so to a regular ADVENT pod.

My one complaint is that it defaults to the game's normal 'predict maximum damage' behavior, and doesn't actually inform you that it's possible to modify it to predict minimum damage instead. You'll need to go into its folder, find its 'XComGame' file, and in there will be a line you can set to 'true' to have minimum damage prediction, if you want it to be maximally-useful, where you can just quickly check 'will this Heavy Weapon instantly kill everything in the area 100% reliably?' and whatnot.

New Promotion Screen By Default

This makes it so everybody always uses the new promotion screen, the one that displays ranks and skills left-to-right instead of top-to-bottom, which is normally only used by Resistance soldiers or when accessing the Training Center.

This is a huge improvement in convenience, making it so you don't have to actually go through the hassle of hopping into the Training Center to purchase bonus skills or even see them. (You still need to build the Training Center to be able to spend Ability Points at all, however) As an additional bonus, skill icons are larger and easier to click on correctly.

The mod supposedly doesn't let you see bonus skills by default (They're supposed to appear as the same question mark you get for skills above your current rank), but I've never messed with its config files and have always had bonus skills prematurely displayed. This is slightly cheat-y, since it means you can plan ahead more, such as seeing that a soldier has a bonus skill you really like having on their class and so you make more of an effort to avoid them dying, or seeing they have a bonus skill that rewards mobility and so send them on Covert Ops to boost their Mobility before you've got the Training Center online, or whatever. I don't care enough to figure out how to disable the behavior, as it barely matters, but it is technically slightly cheating.

More cheat-y is that it lets you spend Ability Points on SPARKs. They don't have internal Ability Point generation so it's a bit limited in how abusable it is, but still. Or you can view it as a bonus, if you think it's bonkers SPARKs are completely excluded from the Training Center system. I've personally never taken advantage and only know of this functionality because I read the mod's summary as part of preparing this page, but if you're really wanting to stave off temptation, there's...

Train From Armory

New Promotion Screen By Default, but without previewing bonus skills nor letting SPARKs buy bonus skills.

I personally don't use this, but there you go.

Robojumper's Squad Select

Completely overhauls the mission preview screen, making it better in every way. I cringe at going back to the base game, which lacks an equivalent to this.

It shows exactly what every soldier is currently equipped with, including their PCS, whatever Weapon Attachments are slotted into their weapon, and what armor they're wearing. These can all be clicked into -even the Weapon Attachments icons- to go directly to changing that equipment slot, instead of needing to click 'edit soldier' and jump through all the screens in between for any given thing you want to do. Furthermore, it shows their current Ability Points (if any) and clicking that will take you directly to the Training Center view so you can easily see if someone has a surplus you've overlooked and conveniently spend it without having to back out of the mission, and it also shows you all of a soldier's skills, including highlighting any bonus skills in yellow so you can more easily see that a soldier has game-changer skills like Death From Above and equip them appropriately.

You can even tweak it to display stats, though I don't bother.

It also provides a one-button click for unequipping everything from soldiers not in the squad, as opposed to needing three clicks to hit every category, and has a number of other features I personally don't take advantage of but which can be nice if you like using assorted mods, such as having a better approach to managing more than 6 soldiers in the squad.

Seriously, this is a massive improvement over the base game squad select screen, so much so that it's genuinely painful to play the game without it after getting used to it. I'm so glad Chimera Squad seems to have taken heavy inspiration from this mod for its own squad select screen.

Less Overwatch Lockups

War of the Chosen is prone to hanging for extended periods when Overwatch fire is occurring with large numbers of enemies or Overwatchers involved. (This doesn't crop up in the base game, for whatever reason) This is particularly pertinent when dealing with Lost, but even something as standard as having six soldiers in Overwatch, none of whom have Guardian or anything like that, catching a single 3-enemy pod can sometimes lead to the game hanging for extended periods. (As in, five minutes... half an hour...)

Less Overwatch Lockups almost completely eliminates these problems. You'll still occasionally have Overwatch sequences have odd moments of a few seconds delay, and it does make the game notably more prone to animations being interrupted, negated so enemies end up dead without any animation of being shot to death occurring, or occurring out of order so that eg an enemy falls over dead and then their corpse gets shot, but overall I consider this well worth it.

The one lockup it doesn't fix is the lockup that can happen when a Purifier is killed by Overwatch fire and has Undying Loyalty immediately revive them. That will still often take several minutes for the game to reconcile. So, uh, watch out for that?

Weapon Fixes

Corrects several weapon-related bugs, such as correcting Inside Knowledge doing weird things with Expanded Magazines, making Stock damage apply in several cases you'd expect it to apply, making Saturation Fire and Kill Zone actually pay attention to Ammo and to equipped Weapon Attachments, making Faceoff use Ammo on every target instead of just the enemy you selected as the initial target, and corrects Deadeye on Reapers to properly use 1 action point like it's clearly intended to, instead of using the otherwise-irrelevant Vektor Rifle base action point cost of 2.

This is an actual gameplay change mod, and the Stock damage application in particular includes some cases I wouldn't have done it myself, but I play with this on because the fixes it makes are either clearly intended/correct behavior or are buffs to severely-understrength skills that are probably also intended to be correct behavior. (ie Kill Zone and Saturation Fire aren't that great even with the mod buffing them substantially)

Colored Ammo Bar

Makes it so Ammo Items change the color of the ammo bar: red for Dragon Rounds, green for Venom Rounds, blue for Bluescreen Rounds, orange for Talon Rounds, yellow for Tracer Rounds, and grey for AP Rounds.

This is very nice for at-a-glance decision-making, and is especially appreciated if you're someone prone to saving and quitting in the middle of missions to come back later.

Two annoying things, though: firstly, the grey used for AP Rounds is barely distinguishable from the grey the game uses for ammo bars in general, making it really easy to think someone with AP Rounds has no Ammo or that someone who has no Ammo Item has AP Rounds. Secondly, it does not affect the visualization for Templar, who are one of the classes that are most annoying in this regard, since hovering over their gauntlets won't pop-up their equipped Ammo like with everybody else.

That's why I also recommend...

Yet Another F1

Makes it so that the F1 key (Configurable, but whatever) will display info on either the currently-selected soldier or whatever entity you're currently considering targeting with an action.

This is of course inspired by how in Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within you could press the F1 key to get info on your soldiers and enemies. I'm not entirely sure why XCOM 2 removed that functionality, honestly.

Regardless, for the most part I don't care about or make use of this mod, but it's the only mod I know of that makes it convenient to check Templar Ammo (It'll be in the bottom-left after you F1 them) and to distinguish between 'no Ammo Item' and 'AP Rounds' when using Colored Ammo Bar, so it gets the recommendation regardless.

Show Will Loss

Displays a popup whenever soldiers lose Will, including showing how much the soldier lost.

This isn't perfect -you can only rarely see how much Will your entire squad lost as it tends to fade too quickly- but it does at least make it a lot easier to learn what even causes Will drain in the first place, as well as quickly get a decent idea of how severe different events are.

Much better than reading my monster post going over Will drain and trying to remember all that text.

Cinematic Rapid Fire

Re-enables a camera effect on Rapid Fire and some other multi-shot abilities, like Banish.

I place this as a 'quality of life improvement' mod because the default game behavior is glitchy, particularly with Banish, in a manner that tends to lead to you missing out on info and having to infer what happened after the fact. I don't actually care for what Cinematic Rapid Fire does, camera-wise, -I think it's incredibly ugly, particularly with Banish, honestly- but getting to perform Banish and actually see what my Reaper did is hugely appreciated, enough so to make the mod worth it on its own.


Why War of the Chosen first?

Because War of the Chosen has much more mod support from fans: many mods that were released in a finished state for the base game got updated for War of the Chosen, a number of mods that were released in a partially finished state for the base game ceased development for the base game while continuing development in a War of the Chosen version, and there are countless mods for War of the Chosen that have no base-game version and never will.

Also because honestly War of the Chosen is a far superior experience with much more replay value: mods to make it a smoother experience are much more appreciated than the same for the base game.

Nonetheless, I'll be assembling a few more such mod rec posts over time, including for the base game.


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