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Breakthroughs and Inspirations are special Research Projects available in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. Whenever a Research Project is completed, there is a chance you may be offered a single breakthrough or inspiration, at random; you must research it immediately, or the opportunity will expire, unless:

  1. If you also have one or more "Instant" research projects available, you can research the instant options first, and the opportunity will not expire.
  2. If you opt to pursue Shadow Chamber project(s) instead, the opportunity will not expire. Thus, you can safely defer breakthrough/inspiration research in favor of unlocking Avatar project objectives.


An Inspiration allows an available Research Project to be completed in 50% of the normal time (though the real time is only 3 days shorter.). If you do not immediately research an Inspired tech, the Research Project will remain available, but will no longer be Inspired.

ADVENT Datapads and Alien Data Caches are unique in that, once an Inspiration is acquired for either one, all future copies of those items will permanently benefit from a research time reduction.


A breakthrough offers a unique bonus if researched immediately. If you allow a breakthrough to expire, that unique bonus cannot be obtained unless it happens to be offered again at a later time.

Breakthrough research times are not reduced by the number of Scientists, and equal to 5 days on difficulties up to Commander and 10 days on Legend difficulty.

Research Breakthroughs are also potential rewards from Covert Actions. These Covert Actions always require a soldier and a scientist, and an optional soldier to negate a risk.

Once you finish all Research Projects (including all the ADVENT Datapads and Alien Data Caches), you will be offered a random Breakthrough until you run out of items to research. These breakthroughs take twice as long to complete: 10 days on difficulties up to Commander and 20 on Legend.

Breakthroughs include such bonuses as:

  • Reduce the cost of a specific Avenger facility, or facility upgrade, by 50%.
    • Elerium Conduit Construction: Improved efficiencies in the porcessing of raw Elerium will reduce the cost of constructing an Elerium Conduit upgrade in our Power Relay by 50%.
    • Workshop Construction: Streamlined construction techniques will now reduce the overall cost of building Workshops by 50%.
    • Future Combat I: A breakthrough in our training methods will reduce the cost of all GTS Tactics by 20%.
    • Future Combat II: Further improvements to our training regimen will reduce all GTS Tactic costs by an additional 30%.
  • Unlock the ability to instantly excavate a room within the Avenger.
  • Reduce the cost of all subsequent projects in the Proving Ground by 20% (This breakthrough can occur twice, reducing cost by an additional 30% the second time).
    • Spare Parts I: With improvements to the efficiency of our supply chain, all Proving Ground project costs will be reduced by 20%.
      • All costs including Supplies, Alien Alloys, Elerium Crystals, Elerium Cores, and various corpses are reduced by 20% (rounded up).
    • Spare Parts II: A breakthrough in our materials processing operation will further reduce the cost of all Proving Ground projects by an additional 30%.
      • All costs including Supplies, Alien Alloys, Elerium Crystals, Elerium Cores, and various corpses are reduced by 50% (rounded up).
  • Unlock the ability to reuse Weapon Upgrades or Personal Combat Sims for the remainder of the campaign.
    • Interchangeable Upgrades: By redesigning our modular systems to improve access to their consumable parts, our Weapon Upgrades could be reused indefinitely.
    • Adaptive Personal Combat Sims: A breakthrough in the interface design of our Personal Combat Sims will allow us to reuse them indefinitely.
  • Increase the health bonus of an armor class (Light/Medium/Heavy).
    • Reinforced Light Armor: A previously unrealized breakthrough in our Light Armor development will allow our lightest variants to provide +1 HP going forward.
    • Reinforced Heavy Armor: Our research breakthrough has yielded a new means of reinforcing the durability of our Heavy Armor without increasing weight, providing an increase of +1 HP.
      • Improve the E.X.O Suit and the W.A.R Suit by +1 HP. The item also displays +1 Armor, but it is not reflected on the soldier wearing it -- likely a visual bug.
      • The R.A.G.E Armor is not improved.
      • Oddly, all utility vests (built in Proving Ground or Engineering) have their health value increased by +1.
  • Increase the damage output of a specific weapon class (such as Shotguns/Assault Rifles/Bullpups/Swords, etc...) by +1. Benefit all tiers of the weapon.
    • Improved Assault Rifles: An innovative new cartridge design came about as the result of our recent breakthrough. All Assault Rifles now deal +1 damage.
    • Improved Shotguns: Our research breakthrough led to the creation of a new choke design allowing for shot patterns better suited to our targets. As a result, all Shotguns deal +1 damage.
      • Also improve Legacy Shotguns (any tier) and the Arashi.
    • Improved Swords: Breakthroughs in both our manufacturing and finishing processes should further improve the balance of our swords, increasing their damage by +1.
      • Also improve Legacy Swords (any tier), Hunter's Axes (any tier, both the slashing and the throwing Axes), and the Katana.
    • Improved Sniper Rifles: With improvements to the precision of our manufacturing process, new barrels will provide our Sniper Rifles with an increased output of +1 damage.
      • Also improve Legacy Sniper Rifles (any tier) and the Darklance.
    • Improved Pistols: Breakthroughs in composite material research have allowed us to increase the caliber of our Pistols without sacrificing control, improving damage output by +1.
    • Improved Cannons: By creating a heavier barrel cross section for our Cannons, we were able to increase stability and improve damage output by +1.
      • Also improve Legacy Cannons (any tier).
    • Improved Vektor Rifles: Micro-rifling applied to the Reaper's Vektor Rifle barrels has increased damage output by +1.
    • Improved Bullpups: Improved compensators for the Skirmishers' Bullpup rifles have diminished muzzle rise concerns and increased damage output by +1.
    • Improved Autopistols: By redesigning the Templars' Autopistol recoil compensators, we've increased the effective damage output of these weapons by +1.
  • Increase the damage output of a specific weapon technology (Conventional / Magnetic / Beam) by +1. Stackable with weapon class improvement (to +2 damage).
    • Improved Beam Weapons: Our recent breakthrough has led to immediate refinements in the manufacturing process for all Beam Weapons, improving their damage output by +1.
      • Including main arms as well as side arms such as Blades / Pistols / Templar Autopistols. Also improve unique weapons such as Legacy Weapons, Alien Hunter Weapons, and all Chosen Weapons.
  • Add an additional Weapon Upgrades slot to a specific class of weapon, increasing the available slots to 3 (2 if conventional tier). Only affect generic XCOM weapons, as unique (Legacy / Alien Hunter / Chosen) weapons cannot be upgraded.
    • Modular Assault Rifles: A redesigned frame system for our Assault Rifles has allowed us to attach an additional weapon upgrade slot.
    • Modular Shotguns
    • Modular Sniper Rifles: Despite initial concerns over balance, our recent breakthrough will allow us to add another weapon upgrade slot to all Sniper Rifles.
    • Modular Cannons: Our breakthrough has allowed us to add an additional upgrade slot to all Cannons without sacrificing balance or firepower.
    • Modular Vektor Rifles: A breakthrough in the configuration of the Reapers' Vektor Rifles will allow us to add an additional weapon upgrade slot.
    • Modular Bullpups: A new modular frame design for the Skirmishers' Bullpup rifles has opened up the possibility of adding an additional upgrade slot to all weapons of this type.