|“||Fire a rocket using an equipped launcher. This ability cannot be used after moving, nor more than once per mission.||”|
– In-Game Description, XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- Fire Rocket deals 6 base damage in a 4 tile radius with 90% accuracy for a Heavy soldier armed with a Rocket Launcher (6 tile radius with Danger Zone, 9 base damage with Blaster Launcher and +1 or +3 damage depending on launcher tech level with Mayhem, for a maximum obtainable amount of 12 damage, and also benefits from the HEAT ammo bonus against mechanical enemies). Unlike most other weapons, the damage is fixed with no random variation, but also cannot score critical hits.
- Fire Rocket takes two action points, and so cannot be used after moving or firing even if the Heavy has the Bullet Swarm ability; essentially the Heavy can take absolutely no other actions in the turn, with no exceptions. Fire Rocket can only be used once per mission unless the Rocketeer ability is learned, which increases it to twice per mission.
- Early in the game, Fire Rocket is unaffected by the soldier's Aim stat, and consistently deals significantly higher damage than conventional weapons. A Rocket is sufficient to kill all early game enemies (Sectoids, Thin Men and Floaters, and Seekers in Enemy Within) on any difficulty, and mid-game enemies like Chryssalids and Mutons are severely damaged by it. This makes it possible for a player to make up for their lack of advanced weapons by using multiple Heavies. However, without upgrades, Fire Rocket becomes less reliable as a source of raw damage as more advanced enemies appear.
- Players who frequently use this ability are strongly advised to go for the Blaster Launcher upgrade with the Guided Fusion Launcher research, and learn the Danger Zone skill (increased blast radius) and the HEAT ammo skill (inflict +50% damage to mechanical enemies), to maintain effectiveness in the late game. At Colonel rank, both Rocketeer (one extra rocket) and Mayhem (increased damage) naturally increase the effectiveness of this ability.
- As with all other explosive attacks, no Weapon Fragments will be recovered from enemies slain by Fire Rocket; only corpses will be recovered. In the case of mechanical enemies, no Alien Alloys or Elerium will be recovered; in Enemy Within, the Meld from Mechtoids and Heavy Floaters will also be lost. Take this into consideration if you are low on stocks of the resources the respective enemies drop. Chryssalids and Berserkers drop no items except their corpses, so they can be killed by rockets at no expense.
- Since a Heavy cannot move if they want to use Fire Rocket, proper pre-battle positioning of the Heavy is important. Players should place Heavies intending to use Fire Rocket in the best cover available just behind the front line with unobstructed line of sight to potential enemy locations, much like a Sniper. As rocket accuracy is unaffected by range, staying at maximum range is recommended if the player only intends to use Fire Rocket, and does not want to risk the Heavy getting hit.
- Once the Blaster Launcher has been obtained, positioning considerations are significantly relaxed, as the "smart" missiles can find their own path and curve around obstacles, ignoring line of sight restrictions. The Heavy still needs to remain stationary, but can be completely hidden, and only needs to be within appropriate distance to the target(s).
- Unlike Frag Grenades or vehicles struck by conventional weapons fire, vehicles hit by a Rocket instantly explode instead of burning for one turn first. This can be used to cause significant additional harm to enemies taking cover behind vehicles. This strategy can help eliminate whole groups of Mutons in the early game, when the player still has no weaponry that can reliably one- or two-shot them.
- Fire Rocket can completely destroy full cover trees, unlike most other weapons. Once armed with the Blaster Launcher, the ability can also punch holes through all types of walls, including UFO hulls. Thus, it is recommended to use the ability early in your turn, so that other soldiers can subsequently take advantage of the enemies exposed by the destruction of their cover.
- Friendly Support soldiers can use Smoke Grenades (preferably with Dense Smoke) to protect their Heavy squadmates to compensate for exposed positioning before and after using Fire Rocket. In XCOM: Enemy Within, Ghost Grenades can accomplish the same task by completely concealing the Heavy and preventing them from being targeted at all.
- In the 10% chance that Fire Rocket misses, the rocket generally flies the same distance but deviates in a slightly different direction. The explosion may still strike enemies, but might also risk hurting friendly soldiers that are near to the target point.
- This does not happen under any circumstances if the Heavy is equipped with a Blaster Launcher.
- This ability is used by EXALT Heavy and EXALT Elite Heavy units in XCOM: Enemy Within. Hacking a relay does not prevent them from using it.