As with any open world game, Mad Max has a ton of distractions that will keep you playing for hours, if not days. It can be daunting to understand and prioritize where to start. That’s why I create these “quickstart” guides. In my quickstart guide for Mad Max, I’ll tell you all the things I wish I knew when I first started playing. It’s a long list of stuff, but knowing this will make life in Scrotus’ territories much easier.
Mad Max Guide: Getting Max’ed Out
Advancement in Mad Max is tied to several things:
- Earning scrap allows you to purchase upgrades to Max’s gear and car
- Car upgrades are usually locked until you reduce the threat level in a region
- Some upgrades (mostly those tied to Max’s gear) are unlocked by completing challenges
- Completing challenges also earns you Griffa tokens, which give other boosts to Max’s stats
My suggestion at first is to advance the story to the point where you move past Jeet’s territory and into Gutgash’s. This gives you a good set of basic tools to work with so that you can efficiently tackle the open world challenges.
From here, I suggest clearing Jeet’s territory. Then, move on to the quests in Gutgash’s territory, and clear the territory afterwards. Once you have the thunderpoon (which sounds like a porn name, seriously…), you’ll have all the basic tools to do practically whatever you want.
Every time you’re clearing an area, I suggest prioritizing the balloons and race locations first. These unlock fast travel points, and that saves a heck of a lot of time. Past this, tackle camps. Every camp you free earns you scrap over time, and scrap is definitely a limiting factor in your upgrades.
Pro Tip When it comes to races, you only have to visit the race to unlock it for fast travel. There’s no need to win or even play. The only achievements that are race related are finishing in Legendary time with each Archangel. You don’t need to complete it as any other vehicle, and you won’t need the Griffa tokens. It’s easier to get these from other methods.
After this, try to get at least the Survey Crew stronghold upgrade in each area. This will save time when looting all the scavenger locations. The Cleanup Crew is also nice (and there’s a related challenge). The Scrap Crew doesn’t really do much in terms of earning you scrap, but there is a challenge related to it.
Pro Tip Leave minefields for last. You can only clear a minefield in Chum’s buggy, with the dog riding shotgun. You can’t fast travel in this car, and it has no boost or upgrades, so you might as well know where all the minefields are (or as many as you can) before you start clearing them, and that way you can also clear them all in a single go, once the threat level is low and nobody’s harassing you.
Mad Max Guide: Scrap Economics
Scrap is basically the main currency of Mad Max. Scrap is available almost everywhere, but for the most part the small amounts you’ll find lying around are insignificant. You can find piles of scrap in scavenging locations, and in camps, strongholds, from destroying cars, sometimes from killing enemies, and so on.
You’re going to earn less than 20 scrap (more like less than 10 typically) from each scrap pile you loot, and you need something like 40k+ for all the upgrades. That’s a lot of looting! There are some much faster ways to earn scrap, though.
Pro Tip I don’t bother getting out of my car to collect scrap in the road. It’s just not worth the effort. The only exception is if my car needs repair, in which case getting out to loot means Chum has a chance to bang on the engine a bit.
First up, like I mentioned before, each camp you free earns you 20 scrap every few minutes of play. This quickly adds up, and it makes all of your Mad Max activities more worthwhile. That’s why I suggest doing this first.
If you find a car that has a “gear” icon over it, you can take it to a stronghold for a whopping 500 scrap. It’s almost always worth doing this, even if you have to limp the car along or stop what you’re doing to get it there.
Pro Tip No, you can’t fast travel. In fact, fast traveling puts you back in the Magnum Opus no matter what car you were driving previously. Bummer.
During dust storms, you can sometimes find “muthaload” boxes that contain 200+ scrap. You’ll have to drag the boxes to some safe location (ie, under an overpass or in a cave) and break them open in order to get the scrap out. At the end of a storm, any crates on your radar will stick around for a while, so you can try to grab as many as you can.
Mad Max Guide: Upgrades
So, now you’ve got a couple of strongholds and are ticking away at scrap. What’s worth upgrading in Mad Max?
My priority for Max’s gear is always the Ammo Belt. Sure, the other stuff is nice – skills make your enemies go down easier, and you can take less damage and deal more damage out. However, nothing sucks worse than being in a big chase or race and running out of shotgun shells, or trying to snipe camp defenses and running out of sniper rounds. Max out the ammo belt early and you’ll thank me later.
Another upgrade to grab early is the Jimmy Bar. It’s unlocked from the start, but never really called out for some reason. Grab it, and get more loot. That’s all there is to it.
My suggestion when it comes to car upgrades is to get at least level one of everything you can for the car. They’re all cheap upgrades, and they all make a pretty big difference. The harpoon upgrades are also a no-brainer, since they allow you to disable vehicles without using ammo.
Griffa tokens are kind of hit or miss. I hate having to go find him when I want to spend them, so I tend to hoard them. The extra life and extra water ones are good, as is extra ammo (see a trend?). Gas savings is really quite useless, in my opinion. Same for melee weapons – they still don’t last long enough or hit hard enough, even when fully upgraded.
Stronghold upgrades are quite useful. I like the health and water ones, although I’m also (obviously) partial to the ammo refill upgrade. Following Jeet’s optional quest line will open this up for all your strongholds. Being able to jump to a stronghold for immediate ammo refill is a huge help, especially after you clear a camp.
Pro Tip If you approach the outline of a stronghold upgrade you haven’t found yet, you can set waypoints on the map to find the parts. This also helps you find camps and scavenging locations you might not have known about!
Mad Max Guide: Camps
Camps are the most involved thing in the open world portion of Mad Max. Clearing the main objective of a camp earns you periodic scrap, and getting 100% in a camp counts towards challenges and achievements.
Exploring camps and trying to find everything can be frustrating. I suggest looking up a guide to the camp if you’re stuck for more than a few minutes. There are a lot of things that are poorly marked or hard to see. Plus, there are a lot of things that are really well hidden.
Look for yellow paint, as that indicates an area you can interact with. Yellow paint can be found on climbing spots, on narrow ledges, and even around gaps you can squeeze through. Sometimes you’ll also see red paint – sometimes it’s a red herring (lulz), but often it can indicate an area you can explode or use your car to damage.
Whenever I’m in a “combat arena” featuring a war crier, I’ll try to roll around a bit and get the enemies grouped up, before rushing over to the crier and firing off the shotgun to take him down. Starting with the crier makes the whole battle a lot easier.
Some camps are guarded by “Top Dogs” – hard enemies that have leather fetishes, swing giant hammers, and usually are surrounded by fire traps for some reason. Against these guys, you’ll have to dodge attacks and look for an opening. The Shiv Punisher skill is super useful, as is just unloading on them with the shotgun.
Mad Max Guide: Challenges
If you’re going for 100% completion in Mad Max, you’ll need to complete all the non-repeating challenges in the game for the achievement “Up to the Task.” Here are a few general tips.
First off, “non-repeating” means that if it repeats (ie the challenge says “Completed 0 time(s)”) – you do not need to complete it even once. It can stay on the “Legend” screen as active and you’ll still get the achievement. There are some super grindy ones you can skip due to this loophole.
For the ground combat achievements, for the most part these are easy and you’ll get them no problem during your run through the rest of the game. The only tricky one in my opinion is trying to kill a bunch of guys without getting hit. For this one, you’ll want to do a lot of rolling and countering. Try to fight on flat terrain, as the counters and special moves don’t always work properly on things like stairs or hills.
If you’re fighting in a big group, be aware that enemies can rush you from offscreen, which is a total lump of BS, but there you go. After countering a hit, you’ll probably only get 1-2 strikes in before someone else will try to hit you. Do note, though, that kills across combat encounters count. Thus, you can fight small groups of enemies at scavenging locations, or by getting the weaker guys to leave their cars. This can make it a lot easier than trying to fight a major league arena fight with tougher enemies.
The car combat challenges in Mad Max take a lot longer, primarly because there are a lot of them that require you to do very specific things, or use weapons or strategies that are underpowered compared to your go-to weapons. However, there are several cheeses I found.
Races are huge – being in a race means you’ve got a lot of cars to shoot at, and usually they’re pretty weak. You’ll want to take an Archangel into the race, as otherwise you’ll have very limited weaponry. However, it’s a great place to get kills with a specific car, or against a specific faction. In most races, you can pretty easily double kill right from the get go if you’ve got the upgraded thunderpoon. Once you’ve gotten one or two easy kills right at the start, hop out of your car and the race will end. Retry for the win! Your ammo will even reset to the amount you had when you first started the race.
Pro Tip Races also unlock cars in your garage, and these cars count towards many challenges as well. If the challenge doesn’t specify “a moving vehicle,” chances are good you can just bring a car out of your garage, call for Chum, and then destroy it with the Magnum Opus to get credit.
There’s also one camp in the northeastern part of Pink Eye’s turf where there are convoys of cars moving in a tight loop. There are usually two sets of three cars here, and they respawn if you fast travel away and drive back. These cars are weak, with exposed fuel tanks, and you can snipe, grind, thunderpoon, whatever them easily.
Most of the wasteland challenges are things you’re going to get anyhow if you’re going for 100% in Mad Max. The only one I really had to pay attention to was eating maggots. If you see maggots, make sure you take damage if you’re at full health so that you can chow down.
Well, 2,000 words later, we’re done with my Mad Max quickstart guide. Hopefully there are a few tips in there that will make your life easier. If all else fails, eat more maggots!