The world map differs significantly from the one you might know from the previous installment of the XCOM franchise. The biggest novelty is the sheer amount of information and activities that the player can take on - almost always there will be a lot more things going on the map than you can actually manage.
The world map represents the current situation in the game - the information regarding your resources, a list of all the activities performed at the Avenger ship (along with their completion time), your current mission objectives of the main storyline, or numerous activities that you can perform. Additionally, the progress bar of the AVATAR Project can be found here as well (more on that will be described in another chapter of this guide).
Aside from missions, that are completed immediately (as soon as you approach them), most of the activities on the map require you to spend a fixed amount of time to complete. This mechanic revolves around scanning a given area for a set amount of days, after which the player receives the reward - be it resources, intel points, soldiers or members of staff.
Apart from missions of the main storyline, the following can be found on the world map:
- Supply drops coming from the Council - in contrast to the first installment of the franchise, the supplies received at the start of the month won't magically appear on your account, you must first scan them for 3 days.
- Supply drops coming from the resistance - same as above.
- Side missions - recapturing a VIP, taking control over a supply transport, protecting a device, etc.
- Points allowing you to initiate contact with the resistance - they work similarly to the satellites from the first XCOM. After establishing contact, a given part of the world will join the player, offering some monthly supplies in return.
- Black Marked - where you can sell unnecessary items (in exchange for supplies), or purchase rare and extremely valuable things, as well as members of staff and even soldiers (this time by using Intel).
- Resistance HQ - where you can spend supplies to purchase members of staff, soldiers and boosts to the HQ itself. Additionally, this location allows you to "farm" Intel (about 8 points a day).
Before you decide to do anything, you should first make sure that all the available facilities on the Avenger have something to do. Start a research or order your engineers to create new equipment, issue some excavations and so on - moving your ship around the map causes the time to pass, so it's wise to use it to its maximum.
Finally, remember about one important thing - icons flashing all over the map may suggest that you must complete them as quickly as possible otherwise you will lose something. It's not really the case (aside from a few exceptions, like missions coming straight from the Council, as well as the Guerilla Ops) and you can do them whenever you feel like - they aren't going anywhere.