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So I really enjoy the 'Defend/Rescue missions' and in the most recent one I've played the Resistance soldiers were real badass. After I rescued the first group unscathed, they basically handled 5 enemies at once by themselves. Their damaged having been bumped up from 2 since the beginning of the game to now 6. I believe they also have more HP now.

So what affected this upgrade? Is it over time? Because I had a Relay in that region? Because some tech I unlocked gave them better weaponry? Can they get even better?

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  • I believe this would be the primary weapon upgrades: magnetic and plasma weapons. If so you should be able to see if they have for example the old standard assault rifles etc or magnetic ones.
    – Amarth
    Apr 27 at 16:40
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    (Btw if you liked these missions I recommend a replay with a total remake mod called "Long War - War of the Chosen". It adds many such missions, including the resistance doing ops of their own lead by one of your xcom soldiers, as well as xcom coming to help the resistance in big battle missions similar to the vanilla game.)
    – Amarth
    Apr 27 at 16:40

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The resistance soldiers benefit from your research, so if you get a research breakthrough for increased damage then they get a buff - this also answers your other question about can they get better.

From my own personal experience if you get enough damage buffs you can actually win the resistance defence missions without firing a single shot from your own soldiers, if the aliens don't see you they will often sit there as the resistance chip away at their health. :)

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