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As far as I can tell, the game decides what class my guys will be promoted to upon receiving their first promotion. Are there any ways to influence this decision?

Right now I'm stuck with more snipers than I know what to do with, and still only have a single Heavy and Assault each. If I had played these soldiers differently when they were rookies, would they have been promoted to different classes?

If that is the case, what playstyle can I try to self-enforce in order to get the promotion that I want? Or is it just utterly random?

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10 Answers 10

up vote 40 down vote accepted

According to readings around the internet - no official sources - it's random. In my experience it has been random. I think I've gotten 2 heavies, 3 snipers, 3 support, and 2 assaults (still have a few rookies yet to get tested out). How many guys have you seen promoted?

Note that I play rookies exactly one way: move closer to enemies. Draw fire. Go through doors first. Shoot or capture if possible. Pat on back if they survive the mission. ;)

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+1 for proper xcom rookie usage – l I Oct 9 '12 at 15:07
@yx. Funny. I've been doing the opposite with my rookies. The big guys with more health take a hit if necessary and the rookies move in for the kill so they can develop into useful soldiers. – StrixVaria Oct 9 '12 at 15:52
@TheodoreMurdock In my experience, snipers are only markedly worse at the Squaddie level. Once you give them Squadsight they're very useful, at least outside of really constricted maps. If you're literally taking most of your snipers' shots with the pistol, you're doing something wrong. – Evan Harper Oct 27 '12 at 19:42
@peacedog Give 'em a red shirt, why dontcha! – Alex Apr 18 '13 at 16:56
@Alex they should just come that way, to drop all pretense! – peacedog Apr 18 '13 at 18:37

You could try saving your game before ending a mission, and then reloading to get a different promotion.

I got this idea after a PC crash. I loaded and repeated the last action, and 2 rookies became an assault and sniper instead of the heavy and heavy they were previously.

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They are completely random.

I got 3 sniper once and in the next mission 3 supports... I think that my game just like to troll me...

From wiki:


A Rookie is a fresh Soldier who lacks a class. After going out onto missions and gaining a small amount of experience (approximately one kills worth), they receive the Squaddie rank and are randomly given one of the four classes: Assault, Heavy, Sniper, or Support


Rookie promotion is slightly weighted toward classes you have less of, but promotion is otherwise completely random.


Rookie promotion is slightly weighted toward classes you have less of, but promotion is otherwise completely random.


Rookie promotion is slightly weighted toward classes you have less of, but promotion is otherwise completely random.


Rookie promotion is slightly weighted toward classes you have less of, but promotion is otherwise completely random.


Soldiers belonging to any of the principle four classes can access the abilities of this sub-class in addition to the abilities they already own, however these psi-abilities only unlock for soldiers who possess "The Gift" which is determined by testing in the Psionic Labs.

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Easiest way is to buy the Training school upgrade that allows you to hire soldiers as squaddies instead of recruits. It's still random, but every 10 creds you spend gets you a soldier with a class, rather than a recruit you need to survive a mission. Either spend lots of money or reload and rebuy the soldiers til you get what you want - its your choice!

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In every case in which I have remembered to check, my first four recruits always became one of each class (in other words, I never got two of a class while still having zero of another class.) That may be a co-incidence. After that it appears to be random.

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I've definitely had duplicates from the first four. – Simon W Dec 21 '12 at 15:58

I think its governed by there aim ability in my experience. a 75 aim rookie becomes sniper, 50 aim rookie assault with stupid shotgun! arapho

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Only the first 4 rookies that you get will be fixed to be one of each class (or 3 if you are playing with tutorial; you'll already have a heavy). If you get one injured without leveling and switch out, then the new recruit you use won't be placed under same restriction; has to be the original. Not sure what happens if you get the rookie killed.

Oherwise only psionics are influenced by will, but that has nothing to do with rookies.

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It seemed that I was able to influence the class assigned to a few of my soldiers. I wanted to gets couple support members, so I brought a med kit and made sure it was the first action for that unit. Later in the mission I used them to finish off an injured enemy at mid range. During the mission I had them shadow a more advanced team mate for defense and to provide convenience for using the med kit when needed. At the end of the mission - low and behold, the class assigned was support. It's possible that it was coincidence, but I was able to accomplish this with three support units. Just now I was able to successfully get an assault class assignment by making 2 (or maybe it was 3) kills at 1-2 tile range. Equipped him with Plasma Rifle, Plasma Pistol, Nano Vest, and Titan Armor. Dudes that I had him finish off were all Mutons. I didn't have him attack other than to finalize a kill at super-close range.

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In my experience getting a long-range kill makes a rookie a sniper, short range is an assault, grenades or another type of kill is a heavy, and getting no kills will earn a support.

I rarely use grenades and have only two heavies out of twenty soldiers. My rookies rarely score kills and I have like eight supports.

This has not been confirmed by any source besides my own experience and a wiki article.

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I think I'm going to have to go off of more than a rumor on the wiki before I change the checkmark over to a different answer. I am very interested in the results of testing in this regard, however. – StrixVaria Oct 23 '12 at 0:05
I never, ever used grenades or rockets. I got almost even numbers of each class - 4, 4, 3, and 3 (in some order) out of 14 soldiers. Also, this answer doesn't mesh with the upgrade that makes new soldiers squaddies. – jprete Oct 23 '12 at 1:21
I just got a rookie promoted to assault with zero kills, so this theory looks pretty much disproved. – Adam Lear Oct 25 '12 at 2:52
I know it was probably not true, it was just something I read on the wiki and that I was experiencing. Ah well. – anonymous Oct 25 '12 at 21:15

It may seem like it is totally random but it is not i recently got a rookie and his only kill of the mission was a mid range kill that was a crit as well and he became a sniper.

I also previously have had large amounts of deaths in the other class on mine in early game so my game I thing leans little bit away from snipers since I got the new guy perk i have been getting more snipers and less of everything else when I hit late game

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I don't think a single rookie turning into a sniper after a mid-range crit kill is a sufficient sample size to determine probability from. – Trent Hawkins Mar 2 '14 at 7:16

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