Wasteland 2 Quickstart Guide

Wasteland 2 is a very good game, but it's also a very long game that throws its complexity right in your face from the start. It can be hard to understand how to create the "best" characters possible. The game mechanics are also somewhat opaque at the beginning. I've done the research and played the game, and I'm here to tell you all the things you need to know in order to get started right the first time.

# Character Creation: Attributes

Wasteland 2's character creation screen is... intimidating, to say the least. It took me several tries to wrap my head around the process. Knowing what I know now, I'd probably make some slightly different decisions. You can learn from my mistakes, though! Let's start with the attribute points.

Charisma allows you to recruit certain NPCs, and it also effects the radius of the "Leadership" skill. However, many NPCs in the game (9 of 15, not including the "spares" at the Citadel, according to this chart) have no requirement. Therefore, I find Charisma to be pretty worthless and I set all my characters' Charisma stats to 1.

Another Perspective Charisma or no Charisma was the subject of much debate over on Reddit. TheUnum points out that if you want to recruit all the possible optional NPCs, you'll need more than the minimum Charisma. The breakpoints for recruiting the 6 remaining NPCs are at 12, 18, 22, and 25 Charisma across your entire party. This total includes other NPCs currently in your party, as well as any stat bonus wearables/consumables. (Thanks to 3rdAnnual for confirming this.)

Luck is useful but not critical, so it can be safely taken to 1. High Luck helps in combat with higher bonus AP and critical chance. It also helps out of combat when looting containers. However, I found that I preferred the guaranteed stat increases granted by other attributes rather than the random chance afforded to high Luck. It's possible to create a single moderate or high Luck character to do your looting, if you wish.

Intelligence determines skill points, so you want at LEAST 4, but ideally 8 or even 10 if you can. 8 isn't a huge sacrifice, and will make you significantly more powerful than at 4. 10 is kind of a stretch, though. You might want one person with 10, but for most 8 is fine.

Another Perspective sheltim points out that mathematically speaking, going from 4 to 8 INT grants you just one more skill point per level, while taking INT to 10 gives you one additional. Thus, the 4 INT points from 4 to 8 are less valuable per point than the 2 that take you from 8 to 10. My counter-argument was that 4 and 10 INT characters are both a bit less well-rounded than 8 INT characters. If you don't mind a bit more specialization in your roster, consider 4 or 10 INT instead of 8. Also, it should be noted that most of the high INT NPC party members require additional Charisma over the minimum to recruit.

Attributes and skills appear unrelated, so you can have 1 Charisma and max out Leadership with no issues. I've heard that some skills (Surgery in particular) require certain attribute levels, though.

Attributes do effect the "derived" stats, though. One derived stat you might not initially understand is Combat Initiative. Combat Initiative is important. Having 10 or less in this stat means you won't get the first move in most engagements, so bump up your attributes until you get there, if you can.

From here, allocating the remaining points depends on how you want to specialize your team members. Bonus AP and move distance are both worth it, but which you pick depends on what role you want that member to fill. Close quarters attackers need more speed, while long distance snipers would probably benefit from more raw AP to use for long shots.

Pro Tip You get a bonus attribute point every 10 levels. If you do a decent amount of exploring and side quest-ing, you can make level 30 pretty easily by the endgame, so keep that in mind.

# Character Creation: Skills

Now it's time to choose skills. Wasteland 2 features many useful skills, but there are also a lot of duds.

As your skills improve, each new rank costs more and more skill points. Thus, it's not terrible to experiment a bit at the low levels, but you'll want to focus on some key weapons and skills to get ahead. Skills start to require more points as they level up, so the first couple of ranks only cost 2 points, then that increases to 4, 6, and finally 8 points to go from rank 9 to rank 10.

In addition to skill points from levels, you can also sometimes get skill points from shrines. The locations of shrines are often rewards for completing quests.

Many skills also have trinkets associated with them. Equipping the trinket will boost a particular skill, usually at the cost of ranks in another skill.

It's also possible to find skill books that will instantly increase a skill's rank by one point.

Pro Tip Clearly it's best to save these skill books as long as possible to get the most benefit. Ideally you'd use it to save 8 points and get a skill from rank 9 to 10. However, using it a rank or two early only really costs you a couple of skill points.

# Primary Skills

First, I'll talk about what I consider to be the "primary skills." I suggest that you distribute these skills among your team so that you can keep them maxed out whenever possible:

# Weapon Skills

Next, you'll want to pick a weapon skill for each of your characters. Ammo and good weapons are often in limited supply in Wasteland 2, so make sure you pick a unique skill for each character.

Probably 80% of my damage came from the above group. Pistols, SMGs, and melee weapons sometimes be useful as secondary weapons, but they're not nearly as powerful as those four. Don't take points at creation for these, but perhaps drop a few points into them as the game progresses. Snipers and Energy Weapon users can both benefit from a secondary from time to time.

Pro Tip It doesn't take more than 4-5 ranks in a weapon skill to become pretty deadly. Finding new weapons is as important (if not more so) than ranking up your skill with a given weapon past the first few ranks.

# Secondary Skills

This list of what I consider "secondary skills" are things that you'll probably want a few points in, but aren't as high a priority:

# A Short Note on Recruitable NPCs

Bear in mind that there are NPCs in Wasteland 2 that you can recruit that have their own skills which can compliment your team's. You can recruit up to 3 more NPCs, although there are only 8 total in the game. I had 1 Charisma on all of my characters and still managed to recruit enough to round out my party.

The first one is available right from the start, and she specializes in Hard Ass, Brute Force, and Assault Rifles. Depending on your choices in the early game, you'll encounter one of two NPCs during your first major mission.

NPCs can leave you, although it's rare. That first NPC you meet will travel with you until you head towards a town called Damonta. Just bear that in mind if you choose to take her along.

# General Exploration Tips

There's a lot of ground to cover in Wasteland 2, so I've put together a few tips on how best to explore.

# Combat Tips

Combat in Wasteland 2 can get kind of complicated, but it's not so bad once you get the hang of it. These tips ought to help you get going.

# Conclusion

If you can get past the learning curve, Wasteland 2 is chock full of turn-based post-apocalyptic fun. Hopefully with the help in this guide you feel ready to forge a path through the Arizona wastes. If not, leave a comment! Maybe we can help.