Not intended to be a walkthrough in the true sense of the word, but more of a reference to give you an idea of what tech / options/heroes are available to you and what carries over from mission to mission. In addition to facts, I give some suggestions/opinions as to powerful item builds for your heroes. I do not list all possible quests; feel free to do them as your leisure and note that some of the loot from them is randomized. I do try to talk about the quests that have impacts beyond loot.
Basic Campaign Info
Each race has 2 missions (6 races), and there is a final mission that brings all their stories together.
- Hero max level on the race's first mission is 6 (this makes heavy piloting unavailable and thus if you find a heavy vehicle in the first mission you can't carry it over to the second mission), second level is 12, and the final level is 20.
- Most races get to choose at some point whether to join core, empress, or remain neutral. I believe the exceptions are amazon and assembly, who cannot join empress (would love to be corrected if you can find otherwise).
- Hero mods and levels carry over, but the heroes you hire don't carry over. At the least, kit out the heroes that carry over, which is most of the point of this guide.
- There are reportedly bugs with which side the factions take on the last mission. I suspect part of the issue is that the game wants to cap you at 5 allies, but that is just my guess and I'm also pretty sure there are just bugs with the game mis-remember.
- At any rate, if you want to carry over the maximum number of overpowered leveled up heroes to the last mission, make everyone neutral in your playthrough (this seems to work just fine without bugs for me). But of course, this isn't the only way to play.
Start with commander + daiyu jang.
Secret tech: Voidtech (last chance!).
Stuff that carries over to next mission: commander, tappels, and either michael or hui depending on your choices.
Notes about quests:
- When you meet the main syndicate house, I recommend you go with the bribing path (maker goods for house timur, pay her 1000 energy after). She remembers if you do this or not in the second mission, which makes her more peaceful if you do it.
- Annexing the molten core instantly ends the mission, but does nothing otherwise (it does not change your tech, or give you any rewards you can actually use since the mission ends, does not appear to change things down the line).
- When you do the questline with the hiding aliens, the end choice actually affects whether michael or hui joins you. If you choose to spare ilya, hui will join you in the next mission. If you choose to destroy her (fight a fun battle), michael will join.
- Doing the questlines for hui/michael make them easy to ally and is probably the easiest way to end the mission. Once you pay the bribe (or blackmail Sina) then her faction leaves as well.
Suggestions on mods: if you find any tier 4 mods/weapons through questing , do your best to keep them on the commander. A generic but all around build for the commander is equip her with assault rifle, smart bullets, rail accelerator, anti-stagger plating
Commander + tappels (if still alive) + hui or michael (if you did the ilya questline).
Stuff that carries over to next mission: commander, tappels, michael/hui, kir'ko hero you rescue early on, daiyu depending on choice
Secret tech: pyrx (stays through final mission)
Factions: paragon, automaton (have to look far for them but they are there and potentially worth it if you go mechanical route)
Notes about quests:
- One of the very first quests you get with finding the signal is time gated, so make sure to do it quickly (it's easy to forget it if you get busy clearing resource nodes/doing faction quests).
- If you want to join Core, do House Timur's questline with annexing the tomb.
- If you want to join Carminia, win via some kind of conquest (domination, sectors, doomsday).
- If you want to be neutral, ally the Kir'ko (this option is very quick/easy if you help the kir'ko with their quests). Being neutral is also I believe the only way to get Daiyu for the final mission.
Suggestions on mods: as always any tier 4 weapons/mods are pretty much universally better than anything you can get, but barring that, I have two suggestions; one is to do a generic assault rifle/smart bullet/stagger resistance + 2 damage mods for your heroes, or the second one which I find more interesting is get everyone advanced piloting and put them in laser tanks + blinding laser + disintegrating laser + repair module (automatons) + staggering laser. The laser build is pretty monstrous when you start the final mission with 3 level 12 laser tank specced heroes.
Commander + tappels + rescued kirko hero + michael/hui + daiyu is the most possible depending on if you leave them alive in mission 2. Daiyu herself starts at level 1 with an APC in this final mission regardless of what she obtained in the previous mission (could be a bug).
Start with commander + assistant hero who shows up on turn 2,
Secret tech: psynumbra. Can choose to switch to void tech for mission 2 if you evolve psyfish as a quest.
Stuff that carries over: commander + assistant
- As stated above, you can switch to voidtech as your secret tech if you go through with the evolve psi-fish questline (first visit psyfish, secondly allow amazons to guide you with them, then continue along that path eventaully sharing your information with them and they share voidtech with you). I would suggest doing this, just because I like the tier III flying rift generator you can equip your heroes with.
- If you want to "subdue" the vanguard per the bloodthirsty kirko's wishes, attack 2 of their settlements (the white dotted lines, not the actual vanguard player) then either turn them into colony or colonizer or have them join other colonies. If you pay the influence cost you won't get quest credit.
- The "bad" options (annex the hall of dreamers through violence, kill everyone) are generally not worth it unless you just like to fight a lot. The peaceful route is quicker, and none of the choices you make here really carry over (except for the tech choice).
Mod suggestions: the kir'ko/psynumbra combo don't have a stagger resistance mod, but you can acquire the ability to build one by taking a vanguard or amazon settlement. The easiest/peaceful way to do this is pay influence at one of the vanguard settlements then turn them into a colony; this gives you the ability to research their stagger plating just like you had in the previous campaign. This is highly recommended as stagger resistance is just universally godly. If you want to, you can bully the amazons (after you get voidtech) to get their stagger resistance mod, which technically is a little bit better than the vanguard's one (the +5 arc resistance will be very helpful in the early game of mission 2 since you fight syndicate who use almost all arc weapons).
I suggest equipping your two heroes that carry over with a good repeating weapon, psi stones of disonnance as secondary, mantra of domination (mind control), stagger resist mod, and regeneration mod.
Commander + assistant hero.
Stuff that carries over: commander + assistant hero + rescuable hero from killing syndicate slavers
- You can make your life a living hell by refusing to assist the queen's resurrection, in which case you fight a 2 front war early on. This results in you refusing carminia.
- You can also refuse carminia without getting into a crazy war, by going along with the requests to get the data, but delete the data (this instantly wins you the mission).
- Make sure to wipe out the syndicate. You may be able to do this extremely early - I was able to on expert by immediately beelining their base with everything I had (two level 6 heroes, mlitary detachment).
Mod suggestions: you can go with a generic poison repeating weapon + psionic secondary to activate domination mod + stagger resistance + domination + regeneration + growth's super poison mod; another option I like is give your 3 heroes advanced piloting, give them rift generators, secondary psi stones, then dominance / quantum / augmentation / staggering mods.
if you want, you can bully the dvar and equip your heroes with rotary canons which are the best repeating ranged weapon that can be researched (imo), but since you cannot get firearms researches you will lack things like rail accelerators/kinetic modules to make the most use of it.
Commander + hive buddy + rescued hero from the syndicate in mission 2.
Korven (commander) + inessa.
Secret tech: Pyrx (last chance).
Stuff that carries over: korven + inessa. Rassvet will show up in mission 2 if you ally him.
Quest notes: as soon as you ally rassvet (do his quests like pay cosmite, annex the construction site, beat his champion), he gives you an earth crusher which you need to finish the mission. You can get the earth crusher through normal research but it takes forever so make sure to ally him and don't lose it like i did.
None of the stuff you do with assembly/automatons really carries over, but this is your last chance to get any automaton mods you might want as the second mission does not have them as a faction.
Mod suggestion: the dvar heroes can learn stagger immunity, so you shouldn't equip them with a stagger resist mod. I think the most powerful way to kit out your heroes is.
Rotary canon (research the "noble" unit in the military tech tree) + rail accelerator + kinetic module (30% damage, ignore half of cover penalties) + flechette rounds (gives a kinetic debuff).
Korven + inessa (commander).
Stuff that carries over: you can rescue rassvet in this mission, and he carries over.
Secret tech: Xenoplague.
Factions: psifish, spacers.
Note about quests: so far I haven't given walkthroughs, but this might be a part where the difficulty spikes a lot since you may get into multiple wars very early on. The map is quite random as well. I suggest rushing aqua deployment first, go rescue rassvet immediately, and rush down the enemy dwarf/amazon who probably declared war on you when you walked an inch out of your base. If you came into this mission with two level 6 dwarves with rotary canons + mods described above, you should be able to overpower them even on expert, with rassvets help of course. I'd go with central energy building, 1 food exploitation, then 2 energy exploitations on your main colony and don't skimp on defensive structures.
- If you want to join core you can help the assembly. Even if you don't want to help assembly, at least go along with their cosmite request (don't fulfill it) so they don't get into a war with you. On expert mode, the assembly are very finicky so make sure not to do things like claim sectors near them or they'll go to war with you - even if you paid the cosmite.
- You have explicit choices to join carminia or core after you annex the temple near the amazons.
Mods: in contrast to the two prior races, I wouldn't go piloting; the dvar mechs are somewhat underwhelming as damage dealers. The rotary canons on infantry heroes are just beastly damage dealers and I would suggest picking up the beastly final tier xenoplague mods to put on your 3 dwarves that carry over. Take time to level up everyone especially rassvet since he's probably lower than your other guys to level 12. the "spore regeneration" hero skill DOES NOT stack with the regeneration you get from mods so don't learn that skill. The mod is better as it has other nice benefits.
If you want to go piloting you have quite a buffet of mediocre choices as you can choose from not only your own race, but kirko, assembly, amazon who you can annex. However, remember that you can't research their particular weapon lines which might make those vehicles less effective than normal (for example, the assembly lightning rider has a lot of nice arc damage mods, but you as dvar cant research those arc mods, just the rider itself).
Korven + inessa (commander) + rassvet from mission 2. Xenoplague.
Stuff that carries over: mahena, and the hero you rescue early on (spare her life and let her join you)
Secret tech: celestial (can switch to xenoplague for mission 2)
Notes on quests: the one special thing the game doesn't tell you is that if you refuse xenoplague, your faction defaults to core on the last mission. I don't know if it's a bug or not, but it's true. What makes this weird is that there is no explicit mention of CORE in the amazon campaign. If you go with xenoplague,your faction defaults to neutral in the final mission. I suggest xenoplague anyways because I like the tier 3 xenoplague mod, but celestians are fine if you like them.
Mod suggestion: dunno if it's just me, but you can usually find some beastly tier 4 weapons in this mission (it's rng, so it might have just been good rng for me but there are a lot of quests that give items). If not, I'd suggest just go with the basic repeating poison bow + grounding harness + bioregulator + growth's super poison mod. If you found a godly non-poison weapon, then research gaia's mask as your third mod.
Mahena + cadue (from mission 1).
Tech: based on your choice from pt 1.
Factions: growth, automatons
Stuff that carries over: mahena, cadue, and the 2 "scouts" that you can rescue (dido/calliope)
Notes on quests:
- I've had a lot of the quests fail in the past because the warring factions get to the sites sometimes before you do, but I've since found a relatively reliable way to do the quests without this frustration: place scouts on top of the landmark quests so no one else walks on them and then do them as quickly as you can.
- I suggest rushing the scout missions (calliope/dido) as for they carry over to next mission so you want to level them up early. You should be able to even tackle the landmark missions without adding more units if you imported good heroes from mission 1.
Mods: grounding harness / xenoplague 3 / gaia masks for all, the 4th mod depends on what weapons you found. If you couldn't find anything then just use some poison weapon and go with growth's final poison mod. If you could find something, then a pretty OK filler is the syndicate's targeting mod. You basically are forced to kill the syndicate in the mission anyways and it's a very quick research and effective (+20% accuracy, +10% damage, and +25% damage on flanking attacks).
If you want to go pilioting which is not a bad idea, the harrier is pretty decent with the spirit link, blinding laser, xenoplague 3, and disintegrating laser.
Mahena, cadue, calliope, dido (yes in fact, this is the faction with the most leveled up heroes you can import to the final mission). You may wish to take control of the amazons for the final mission for this reason alone). Level 12 amazon heroes can learn call of the wild which is pretty OP as well.
Secret tech: synthesis. Can switch to psynumbra if you do ardelli's questline to research psistones
Stuff that carries over: commander
Notes on quests: there are a lot of different "endings" to pt 1.
- If you want to get ardelli as a free ally in pt 2, then do his questline and kill the vanguard with him (if the vanguard dies before the questline, you cannot do this! so be wary of the possible issue that vanguard could die to random fights if you just wait around too long). However, ardelli betrays you in pt 2, so you may not wish to go with his demands to kill the vanguard.
- If you wish to just go through with as little violence as possible, make sure to do the spacer quests as eventually the assembly guy will give you a quest to evade the wrath of the vanguard/syndicate, though nothing really carries over to the next mission.
- Paying energy / doing construction / researching to finish xul's soul transfer all immediately lead to the end game state, so be ready before you do that. This is where you decide whether to side with ardelli or screw them all and go with the spacers.
- The sidequests for vanguard/ardelli are very strong landmarks but they are largely mechanical in nature so if you bring stuff that mind controls mech units you can get by without building elite units.
Mods: total network integration mod speaks for itself, though it might nerfed one day (the one that gives you status immunity). For sure, take the domination mod (use a secondary psi grenade to activate it even if your primary isn't psi). You can get some beastly weapons sometimes from the quests in this mission, but if not, then just take some generic repeating arc weapon and stuff to buff it.
Tech: psyumbra or synthesis depending on your choice in pt 1.
Factions: psifish, spacers, automatons
Stuff that carries over: commander
Notes on quests
- This map is a massive spike in difficulty and time investment, as you have to fight up to 7 factions and sometimes you get a 2 front war very early and it's an island map.
- If you want to do the optional 7 covert ops quest,you have to use specific ops on specific factions as you meet them (look closely at your quest log to see what those are).
- If you don't clear the nexus node in time, a bunch of demons (str 500) show up from every teleporter pad on the map. This isn't as bad as it sounds; as long as you have level 2 militia they will auto win.
- If you clear the node but don't construct the emergency protocols, something happens to the teleporters like they scramble location iirc. If you both clear the node and do the protocols in time then the teleporters stay the way they are. At any rate, to me this isnt important at all no matter which way you do it; just keep practical concerns in mind like you spend time going to the node you might be at war with someone at the time which makes it hard for you to guard your base.
- In general, I would suggest befriending automatons (send runners all around the water ways to find them) and getting the repair module from them, then amassing wraith tanks with repair module, guardian module, network integration. You may as well put your commander in one as well, as in general you've probably learned by now that a tier 3 mech unit with repairs is pretty strong. 4th mod would be domination for the commander.
- As long as you're not a complete asshat, you can ally giordelli and the female dwarf. The amazon you can only ally if you choose her side (which gets you to carminia). The male dwarf will only join you if you go with his demands (CORE). The kir'kos won't join you ever. The vanguard is finicky; usually you can get her to sign a nonaggression pact but she frequently goes back on it if your forces are too puny.
Mods: you might as well put your commander in a wraith tank (advanced piloting), repair modules + total network integration + guardian shell + domination mod. Alternately, go with an arc weapon and go with chain arc mods. You have a lot of other options if you want to with all the races you can annex, but they can be mediocre since you may lack the proper firemarms tech to sync with them (for example, if you were in love with the laser tank build with vanguard campaign, it doesn't work so well here since you can't research laser mods, just the tank itself).
Commander (yup, this is the "weakest" faction in terms of numbers of heroes carried over).
Commander + logen8 (he has an innate unique defense mode for a hero that I don't think you can get in any other way without a mod).
Secret tech: synthesis (last chance)
Factions: spacers, growth, automatons
Stuff that carries over: commander + logen8 + hero you convert early on (redecorate the spacer dwelling). I *think* you have to leave her as a human to retain her, because when I tried doing cyborg she turned into a generic non-hero unit, but someone claims you can convert her to assembly. If you can convert her to assembly then do so as the reassembly mod cannot be applied to a pure human, and it's quite good. She is a xenoplague hero in the human form.
Notes on quests: there are a lot of quests and running around you can do with dwarves and amazons and whatever; none of them have any meaningful impact so just do them based on rewards or just if you want to "see the view."
Mods: there are 2 routes I propose, although of course you don't have to go with either
- Sharpshooters all around; put vorpal snipers + rail accelerators + total network integration + reassembly mod on everyone (for the human hero, flechette rounds are fine instead of reassembly).
- Lightning riders all around: remember to take 1 level of piloting (it's not advanced), go with total network integration + final arc defense mod + reassembly mod. You may wish to strongly consider this option (I didn't and I regret it) as in mission 2 you have a lot of islands to fly to and mountains restricting movement.
In any case you probably realized by now, that stagger resistance + regeneration giving mods are great, and then it's realy just some sort of nice high tier mod.
Commander + logen8 + the human commander you "repurposed" in mission 1
Notes on quests: again usually I don't give a walkthrough but here's a difficulty spike. Decide on whether you want to ultimately go with logen, or kill him.
Assuming you want to help logen, I would suggest: do NOT sign pacts with him early. As soon as you do, the two allies you start with get mad and declare war on you. Rather, take the time to build up and kill everyone else off the map (you're basically forced to), then ally him at the end.
Map traversal can be very restricted due to the islands and lava. I'd suggest your target army composition is lightning riders with sweet mods. Once you have 2-3 full stacks of them then obliterate everyone you couldn't reach by foot early in the game. Of course kill any convenient and logical targets you can early on with your three level 6 heroes + starting army.
- If you want to continue as sharpshooters, pick up the smart rounds from the paragon.
- If you want to continue as lightning riders, pick up some decent offensive mod like the one that chains targets.
Commander + logen8 + converted hero from mission 1