Wasteland 2: Director's Cut

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Character Building

  • Initiative (more turns) and AP (better turns) are the two most important combat stats in the game, and both should be as high as possible on combat-focused characters.
  • Luck is practically a dump stat and leaving it at 1 is no big loss. Strength is also not very important even on melee characters, but you need at least some of it for carry weight. Intelligence is best left at either 4 or 10 as 5-7 provide no extra skill points and if you've gone above that you might as well go all the way.
  • One character should have both high Charisma and ongoing investment in the Leadership skill to avoid people going rogue.
  • Consider giving all your characters a couple of points in Weaponsmithing in order to unlock the Tinkerer perk which increases a character's max AP by 1 when they're wearing light armor. This is one of the strongest perks in the game and available very early on. Heavy armor can largely be ignored.
  • Ammo can be quite scarce especially early on, so it's recommended to spread your weapon skills around.
  • Perception is an important skill to prioritize as unlike with other skills, it's impossible to tell when your skill level is insufficient because you will simply walk past whatever you missed. Also if you use the Perception skill in your hotbar, a circle will appear around your character which shows your detection range at all times.
  • Outdoorsman is not a priority skill, but you will probably want someone who isn't Angela Deth to have at least 6 ranks in it before you reach the second half of the game as at that point random encounters ramp up massively in difficulty and it'll take a bit for your equipment to catch up.
  • Most quirks are probably not worth the downsides. A couple of standouts include Brittle Bones (+2 AP, -50% combat speed) and Thick Skin (+2 armor, -30% combat speed) for ranged characters who don't have to move around that much in most fights. Brittle Bones in particular is the perfect quirk for a sniper.

Combat

  • Ending a combat turn with 1 or 2 AP remaining will conserve 1 AP for your next turn, whereas ending a combat turn with 3+ AP remaining will conserve 2 AP for your next turn. Ambushing will not conserve any AP.
  • When possible, use your sniper to start fights by taking the first shot from afar, but make sure to switch away from party control to individual character control first (Space key by default).
  • While Precision Strikes seem useless at first due to their accuracy penalties, later in the game when your accuracy is better they become incredibly useful. Headshots deal a lot of bonus damage once you can overcome the accuracy penalty, and the various debilitating status effects can be very powerful against strong enemies.

Miscellaneous

  • You can manually attack some obstacles such as explosives or doors to destroy them. Ammo permitting, clearing a minefield with a shotgun is a great deal faster than individually disarming each mine. Note that doing this to containers will destroy the items inside of them, although you can use explosives on safes.
  • Items received from repaired toasters can usually be given to an NPC somewhere for a reward. Whether the NPC in question is someone you've already met 15 hours ago or won't meet for another 15 hours is a different matter, but some of the rewards are very useful.
  • After leveling up, consider saving up your skill points instead of using them right away unless you need to increase a weapon skill or want to reach a specific perk. This way, if you end up facing a skill check you can't quite beat, you can use the saved skill points to increase the skill that you need.
  • Once you gain access to your item stash, you can use it to stash your leftover quest items that you otherwise can't get rid of, such as outdated radiation suits.
  • There's a skill book for every non-combat skill in the game that gives a free rank in the skill when used. They're best used when increasing the skill would otherwise cost 6 skill points as before that skill increases are still cheap and the final skill increase that costs 8 points takes a while to get to and can usually be compensated for with a skill-increasing trinket. No skill books exist for weapon skills.
  • Stashing your extra ammunition is preferable to selling them, you don't want to find a huge upgrade to your current gun only to find that it uses an ammo type you just got rid of due to it being "useless".
  • When you gain access to the interior of the Ranger Citadel relatively early on, one of the vendors inside will pay a premium for all the junk weapon parts you've most likely accumulated. It's one of the best sources of revenue in the game.
  • Surgeon removes status effects and stabilizes people who are bleeding out. If a person is unconscious, they will eventually recover on their own.
  • If you bust a safe/lock, mechanical repair will help with repairing it to give you another chance.
  • After Hightower or Ag Center, you have the chance to gain three different party members at the Rail Nomads. Getting them early means they don't miss out on experience points.
  • Recruiting some party members requires total party Charisma to be above a certain number. Holding on to and equipping spare Dog Collars (+1 Charisma) can help meet this.