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The main factor when it comes to promotions seems to be the number of aliens a soldier has killed. Does it matter what kind of alien is killed? Does a strong alien give more experience than a weak one, or are all aliens equal?

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I suspect each alien has an 'xp' value, you gain a portion of that for damaging them and all of it for a kill. And it takes a certain amount of xp per promotion. This is solely based on observation (and this remains consistent with previous xcoms) so I'll leave it as a comment until some hard numbers can be dug up. –  z - Oct 15 '12 at 16:33
    
I hope this is the case. Now that my main soldiers are getting maxxed, any rookies or less experienced soldiers are not getting kills anymore. Perhaps it would let me promote those guys (slowly) if I took a few potshots at an enemy with my rookies before killing them with the sniper... –  RibsNGibs Oct 15 '12 at 18:05
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There is definitely an XP chart for promotions - it's even in the data files somewhere in plain text - and it is definitely possible to gain XP without killing, as I've had people become Squaddies with no kills. I can't find any XP values for enemies in the data files, though. That strongly suggests that all of the aliens give XP in the same way - maybe through damage done, with a hardcoded bonus for striking the final blow. –  jprete Oct 16 '12 at 2:17
    
@jprete: Do you know where this configuration file can be found? –  Philipp Oct 16 '12 at 6:34
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"Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\XCom-Enemy-Unknown\XComGame\Config\DefaultGameCore.‌​ini". Or just do a file search for DefaultGameCore.ini. There are plenty of other files in that directory, but DefaultGameCore.ini is the one with most of the interesting gameplay-relevant values. –  jprete Oct 16 '12 at 17:48
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

jprete pointed out that there is the file DefaultGameCore.ini which lists all relevant stats of the aliens (as well as a lot of other gameplay stats). The alien data does not contain anything which looks like an exp stat. This heavily hints that all aliens do indeed give the same amount of exp.

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