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My soldiers have an Aim stat and a Defense stat. Sometimes, I've got things like smoke grenades which claim to give you +20 defense and the like.

What does this actually mean in terms of chance to hit? Is a point of aim or defense worth 1% to hit, or some such?

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Aim and Defense are pretty simple. As you suggest, they're simply lacking a % sign.

Aim is your base chance to hit. A rookie's starting 65% Aim means a 65% chance to hit.

Defense is also pretty simple: 10 Defense means 10% less chance to hit.

In this way, you can think of Cover as providing Defense, and standing in a smoke cloud makes you 20% less likely to be hit, hence, 20 Defense. (Incidentally, 65% base Aim and -20% for low cover is why most Rookies have a 45% chance to hit sectoids in your first couple of missions).

Additionally (thought not a stat per se), different weapons get different range bonuses, which increase or decrease your chance to hit. Shotguns can get up to 37% bonus chance to hit at point blank, and Sniper Rifles actually get a penalty if you're too close.

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    Seems like most guns except sniper rifles do get an aim penalty at range. I'd love to know what those thresholds are in numbers. Side note: Sick of getting headshotted by a plasma pistol from 40 meters. =(
    – gkimsey
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 17:02

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