The AVATAR Project
The whole AVATAR Project is quite a simple mechanic, turning the whole concept of the game around and forces the player (at least to some degree) to focus on a quicker, more aggressive approach, instead of idly sitting and passing the time, until his / her soldiers are so strong that even the most powerful alien soldiers won't be able to even touch them.
The mechanic revolves around the progress bar, visible on top of the screen when you are on the world map, which slowly fills itself. It happens constantly, as more days pass, and when all of the 12 segments are filled, a countdown will appear - the player will then have about 20 days to hinder the alien plans in any way (which will be discussed later), otherwise the game will end and the you will be presented the game over screen.
How to deal with it
The player is obviously capable of counteracting the alien operations and can decrease the progress of the AVATAR Project by completing various missions. You can't really eliminate the risk, but keeping the bar at 50-60% will give you plenty of time to react to whatever the aliens have up their sleeves and find a way to decrease the progress of the project.
There are three methods that can be used to reduce the progress of the AVATAR Project:
- Completing story missions. By completing most of them you will be able to reduce the progress bar of the project by 2 or even 3 segments. It's the most efficient way to deal with the project, and in the long run the required one, as without completing story-related missions you won't be able to push the story forward, and even the amount of research projects will be quite limited.
- Destroying alien facilities. Those appear on the map quite randomly (you will be informed when such a facility is found) and it will push the progress of the alien invasion each time that happens. Destroying facilities will decrease the progress bar by 2 segments.
- Counteracting some of the Dark Events. Each month you will be presented with a screen showing the upcoming Dark Events (more on that can be found in the previous chapter of this guide), and one of the three events will always be hidden. To reveal it, you will have to pay a certain amount of Intel (from 20 to 40), and it's certainly worth doing as often that one hidden Dark Event will allow you to decrease the progress bar by even 2 segments, if you manage to counter it.
The AVATAR Project might seem like a very tiresome mechanic, putting too much pressure on the player, but with proper planning you will be able to counter it without putting much effort into it. To be able to effectively counter the alien progress, you will need a substantial amount of contacts with the resistance - which is why this guide recommends (the "Base development" section) construction of 3 Resistance Comms facilities as quickly as possible.