Is it possible to play XCOM without being always threatened by a looming defeat?

I know such unavoidable threat is one of the points of the game, but has it been worked around? Is there an optimal way to manage panic that leads to an indefinite play time, at least on certain stages, or all I can hope for is delaying the inevitable?

2 Answers 2


The point of the game really isn't to play indefinitely. But there are certain things that will help you achieve an infinite (or nearly infinite) playtime.

1.) Managing panic is about splitting your time between getting Engineers and extra money to equip your soldiers and build new facilities. You'll want to focus on getting your satellites in the air as soon as you can. This means you have to get building them. There are strategies you can use on the internet, but the basics are usually the same. Focus on getting Engineers to lower the cost of the satellites and facilities. Don't build satellites until you have only 21 days left and don't launch any satellites until the day before the council meeting. Also, don't worry about letting a country panic if it's early on in the month. Launching a satellite at the end of the month will ensure you stop the panic. You can also let them continue to panic until the end of the month, since they don't jump ship until AFTER the council meeting. It'll take a bit of luck and planning, but this will lead into step two...

2.) You need to ensure you have a perfect record with the council up until you launch every satellite you can. Once you have full coverage over every continent, you'll be able to catch every UFO as they pass by, which will make it so you don't have to do Abduction missions anymore. (I still get Terror missions, however, for some reason) To accomplish this, make sure you're trying to cover any countries that are panicked first. Then, finish off any continent you have left. DO NOT let satellites sit unused at the end of the month. While it might be attractive to use them to stop panic, the sooner they're up, the sooner you get a raise in your funding. And then panic won't be a problem, because you'll be covering everyone. And if you cover an entire continent, you won't have to worry about an Abduction mission screwing with the threat in a country you already launched a satellite over. REMEMBER: you can only launch ONE satellite to lower panic. Once it's up, if the country continues to panic, there is no way you can control the panic and you'll have to hope for a random mission to lower it. As long as the sky is completely watched by satellites, though, you can intercept every UFO and panic becomes more manageable. Which leads to the third point...

3.) Start building as many Firestorms and fill your hangers with them. The Firestorm will give you interception capability to bring down any ship in the game. With the right weapons installed, you'll shoot everything down you even uncover. You need to do this because...

4.) Make sure you shoot down every UFO so they don't shoot down your satellites. Of course, you could get the Stealth upgrade for your satellites, but this does the trick as well. If you let a UFO continue hanging out over a continent and don't do anything about it, it will bring down your satellites.

After doing those three things, I see no reason why you couldn't just keep doing mission after mission, shooting down UFOs and looting them for sweet Elerium. Though, at the point you can do the above three things, you'll most likely have already beaten Exalt, Gene-crafted a number of soldiers, and progressed an entire squad to Major. You can steam-roll every encounter you come across, at that point. So I guess if that's what you want to do, have at it.

  • 1
    fwiw abduction missions stop once you have satellite coverage over a country and a council report has passed. This is pretty necessary for maration runs.
    – l I
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 14:04
  • True, though an abduction mission in one country without a satellite can still screw up a country in the same continent with a satellite, so that's why I like to finish off continents as soon as I can. Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 14:16
  • What happens if a Satelite got shot down? Can you relaunch another one?(Which just wont lower panic) Or is it impossible to launch satelites there anymore?
    – Zaibis
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 9:16

Actually, you could technically play indefinitely, as long as you don't lose countries and you're able to handle the tactical missions reasonably well.

Just avoid the story missions.

I'm assuming vanilla xcom eu/ew.

  • Why are you answering a year old question, which has an accepted answer and whose answer do actually answer OP question, giving ways and tips to manage panic?
    – Zerjack
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 17:15
  • How do you suggest to "avoid" abduction missions that increase panic and lead to defeat?
    – Orc JMR
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 6:50
  • I thought I'd just give a quick tldr version, coz not everyone wants to be told how to do something, just if it's possible. Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 11:47
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    and if you don't do story objectives, like researching the outsider or not invading the alien base, the game will just carry on practically forever, as long as you're able to not lose the requisite 8 countries, You can even do that to control the 'difficulty' of the game. For example, by doing everything and invading the alien base as late as possible, you minimise your encounters with sectoid commanders and ethereals, because they only appear after you attack their base. Can be done even on classic and impossible ironman. Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 11:54
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    @AaronLoy the reason I am asking for clarification is that your suggestion helps one time, and what I was asking is about indefinite time. I know that I can ignore the mission if it does not bring a country to 5 panic, but ignore one time, two times, then what? The advice to "not lose 8 countries" is not really helpful, as you could just say: well, to not lose the game, you kinda want to not lose the game! Thanks, I guess :-)
    – Orc JMR
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 4:42

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