I was playing Long War. I was suggested a covert operative extraction mission which is going to expire in 48 hours. Just as I was going to send a squad to the mission a new UFO appeared (small, Fighter, flying high) ... Should I hunt the UFO now to go for the operative first?

I know that hunting the UFO could take more than one interceptor to send for it and would take time. I worry the operative extraction mission could expire while I am hunting.

On the other hand transporting the squad to the extraction place and back takes a few hours. By the way, what is the usual range of transportation time?

I do not know if the game's time continues to run during the mission itself, does it?
If it does run; is it a fixed amount of time per battle; fixed amount per each turn of the battle; or some other formula?

If it does not, I probably should go to the mission first; because after completing the mission I would still have time to hunt the UFO before it disappears. By the way; what is usual time of UFO staying around before disappearing?
What is the usual time of one interception attempt?

  • 2
    I think you have a few too many questions in this question. I would suggest separating the question about whether time continues and the questions about how long things take.
    – DCShannon
    May 4, 2016 at 18:48
  • @DCShannon I thought about it; it is all related; it is all about making a decision in this situation: go to the mission or hunt the UFO. May be I should rename the question... May 4, 2016 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


Time stops during missions.

I can't find any citation indicating that time stops during a mission, but from my memory of playing through the game several times I feel pretty confident saying that it does.

This would be easy enough to check. Save, start a mission, see what time it is when you get there, play some turns, leave, check the time.

But not when flying to the mission site.

But in this version of X-Com, you don't have much control over your aircraft. The skyranger will fly to the site, taking up time, and fly back when it's done, without you being able to stop it and send your interceptor.

So check.

This means that maybe you can do the mission first, and maybe not. To be sure, save the game, head to the mission site, leave immediately, and return to base. If you can still intercept the UFO, then you're fine doing the mission. Load, and actually do it.

  • I thought about it myself. I performed the test you suggested. The Sky Ranger departed to the mission at 10:00 and when it arrived I pressed "return to the base" instead of starting the mission. It returned before 12:00; so the flight there and back took less than few hours. Then I loaded the saved game and repeated the test; but this time I made few turns and aborted the mission. It returned at 12:27; so it took at least 30 minutes more. However some time passed between my clicking the buttons on the globe screen in both tests; so I am not sure about accuracy of my measuring. May 4, 2016 at 19:12
  • @AndrejAdamenko Actually landing and disembarking could take some time. If you want to make a really good check, you would probably need to compare landing, disembarking, and immediately leaving to landing, disembarking, and playing a while. If the UFO was still available in both tests you already did, I would just go ahead and play the mission. Check the time when you get back and see if it's near 12:30.
    – DCShannon
    May 4, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    I performed the mission completely (killed all EXALTs) and returned to the base at 12:30. So totally it took 2.5 hours of "game time" from the moment of Sky Ranger's departure from the base. I still have plenty of time to go for the UFO. Thank you May 4, 2016 at 20:10

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