6.10.14

Wastelanding

My first Kickstarted game was Wasteland 2. Not that I kicked strongly, just enough to get the game in Steam whenever it was finished. And of course I was as lucky as I usually am and the game was released on my first vacation day, while I was ~2760 kilometers from my 'puter. Despite that I thought I would, for a change, be on the edge and drop a couple of lines based on my first few hours in. Perhaps there will be some mild spoilers, in case one of my poor readers is a) a gamer and b) hasn't started W2 yet. Somehow I doubt that both A and B apply at the same time.

I'm already afraid of that roboscorpion


Character creation

I spent something like fourty five minutes just creating my team. Of course I could've used the premade characters, but who in their right mind does that unless they are forced to? My coworkers had mentioned something about the skills and that one can't make multitalents so I shouldn't try to. Many thanks for not spoiling a thing!

The amount of choices is almost confusing and very nicely the way RPGs used to be back in the day, before the days of "everything needs to be simple, carefully explained and self-explanatory". Yes, I am old and bitter PC-purist, how did you guess? In my opinion, this sort of character creation is a thing of awesomeness.

Leadership

As my squad leader I created Eugenia Scharnhorst, who was mostly smart and could shoot some pistols, shoot shit (Smart Ass) and lead. Leadership gives bonuses to nearby friends, which I thought to be a good idea for a leader.


Up close and personal

Of course someone has to pack up a punch at close quarters. A coffin nail -smoking, religious Igor Breznev ended up being the shotgunner. A strong bruteforcer, my alarm disabler and the all-around explosives-expert. I guess that this got a bit out of hand, but I wasn't going to try to develop all these skills at the same rate, some of them are on level 1 just in case they're needed.



Patch and go

My Ranger squad wouldn't stay ranging, if they didn't have a medic with them. Sven from Sweden learned the wonderful skills of field medicry and surgeoning. These then naturally led to him being a bladed weapons guy, so he could stab a butterknife into someone's spleen, if the situation demanded. And to be on the safe side he got a point to pistols and another to verbal asslicking (Kiss Ass)



The long ranger

If my experiences and assumptions were to be trusted, my team would need the support of a perceptive chap with a long-barreled gun. Therefore One-Eyed Miguel with his stereotypic background got above-default perception attrs, the perception skill and the mandatory points to (scoped) rifles. And then some lockpicking and safecracking to round him up.




In hindsight, I think that the only one who was decently narrowly set-up was my leaderess. The others seem to be suffering a bit from my "that could be handy, oh and that too" issue.

To the awful world of making choices

My first mission took me to some corner of the desert. On the way I almost encountered something hostile, but we managed to sneak by. There was a weird dude guarding the radio tower, but I managed to smart-ass my way by him and could roam freely without these jerks picking up a fight with my team. Soon I found myself in a cave and found my first proper enemy.
On the seventh try I got the monster killed without my own team dying away. Yes, seventh.

Then I returned back to the Citadel's front yeard and chatted with everyone I saw, bartered for a bit of ammo and proceeded to my next mission. On my way to the radio in southeast I overheard some distress calls on the radio. Something really weird was going on in the Ag Center and they requested immediate assistance. Somewhere else Highpool was under attack by raiders with mortars. I had to decide, which I'd help first and I thought that if these raiders managed to capture and hold highpool with their mortars, cleaning it up later could be tooth-grindingly nightmarish. So I made my team march by the Ag Center while they were howling their pleas over the ether.

Along the way I got caught into two random encounters. The first had a couple of flies and tiny brown things, that later were revealed to be bunnyrabbits. I thought that this is some easy exp.
How wrong could I be? The bunnies were clearly direct descendants of the beast of Caerbannog and even though nobody got killed, half of my squad was unconcious, bleeding to death after two rounds of fighting.
The second encounter was against three raiders, who scared me but I didn't want to get to save/loading so I took my chances. These clowns were then dealth with quickly and efficiently, I guess I was careful enough this time, instead of marching into them proudly and with a head held high.



Our battles

On the outskirts of Highpool a few handfuls of enemies were prowling aronud. Slowly I learned, that being careful is a good idea and that the cover system (and hiding on the rooftops) was ridiculously awesome. Pain is your friend, they say and in this case they were right, I learned my place.
This doesn't mean that I didn't have to fight the same battles multiple times, though, as I got my team's asses handed to me repeatedly. Mostly I was being stupid, sometimes I just had incredibly bad luck.

Below the big wall I got to the final, main fight (or so I hoped at that point) and it looked damn depressing. My folks had something like 30 hitpoints each, my enemies were mostly around 15-20 or so. The worst had had something like 35 and cutting those beasts down was always slow and prone to many a critical failure, even though at worst the headcounts were equal.
Now I was facing a numerical superiority. The raiders were taunting the people on top of the walls and were shooting inefficiently all around. I was looking at the hitpoints of my targets to decide, how to go with this encounter, the numbers didn't concern me horribly much as they weren't looking that bad. Until I saw Jackhammer with 75 hitpoints. That made me want to run away immediately... Let's just say that dropping them all took quite a few tries and after the first two it was pretty obvious that Jackhammer had to be the first one to die and preferrably very rapidly. Otherwise that maniac beat my team to pulp alone, and very efficiently.

My victorious tactic was to put three of my people further back, crouching in a cover while the sniper went on top of a small crest and headshotted the nearest one without a warning. Then, as soon as the encounter began, made him run as far away as possible, because the old man just couldn't shoot and move in the same round. In the end Miguel didn't get to fire more than a couple of shots, as someone was always running up to him. Having an enemy next to him made him nervous and gave an awful penalty to his to-hit chances. Annoying, but on the other hand very cool!

Not that I've ever tried to shoot (or hit) a hitting target with a gun, while some maniac is next to me, trying to turn me into mincemeat, but somehow I think that aiming wouldn't be the first thing in my mind in such a case. Though, how could I know, really?

You scratch my back, ...

When I finally got up to Highpool itself I started doing what I could to help the townsfolk. Thanks to my low (or nonexistent) skillpoints in certain skills things didn't work out like in the movies. Of course, out of three different speech skills this place required the hard-ass most and I had none of it in my team. Tough cookies.

The attackers had managed to ruint he water system and I went to the Irrigation building to help a lady. While I was there I could also turn on the power to the radio transmitter and if I helped her, she would most likely be the Ranger-minded mayor of Highpool. Of course I'd help her, totally without my own agenda...

Thanks to the low power, I had to leave one team member to the control room so (s)he could turn on and off the switches that open and close the doors to different rooms in the complex. It wasn't a contest, really, so my medic stayed to pull the levers and enjoy the summer while the unlucky trio went on pick up fights with roaches. This way I got to keep my Mengele alive and unharmed and the fighting tripled could always walk back to get patched, which was needed only once just before clearing the last room.


Highpool's new mayor's election's first voting round ended up in a draw. After that I went around, trying to help the townies as well as I could. The temporary infirmary had six critical patients, who were all healed by my wondersurgeon Sven, with high success (yes, I admit to save/loading here). Of course it was now too late to put out the fire of that one man's house, now that I finally got some mechanical repairs learned. He was bitter and blamed me for not caring about his home. As if I had purposefully done that. Bah. Despite that the next voting went very clearly in my favour, with only one (mis)vote going for the opposing party.

After the power void got filled, I could also release Vulture's Cry from the cage. I assumed she'd be of some use as a spotter and with her outdoorsman skills she could find an oasis pretty soon, I hope. My team's water bottles had gone very low and I really don't want to proceed to the wastes without water.

Thoughts

As I said before and you can tell by the text, I have only scratched the surface. So far Wasteland 2 has been challenging enough on the Seasoned ("normal") skill level but in a good way. My team has been utterly demolised (either all dead or practically (75% bleeding, unconcious and the last one having his/her brains smashed in by multiple enemies)) ridiculously many times, but most often it has been because of my own stupidity.

As a young boy I didn't play RPGs much because they were mostly fantasy themed, and as I keep saying, it hasn't been my thing. Even so, Wasteland reminds me very nicely of those games from the late '80s and early '90s, but done modernly, starting from the character creation and with the total lack of handholding.

There's plenty of text, only a small portion of the chats are spoken over. I like that a lot, too. Reading is much faster. There's a huge amount of different skills, like those three types of speech, and I've got no clue of the usefulness of most of them. I'm assuming that all of them are useful but I just have to guess the best ones for me by the gut feeling. If I've guessed wrong, I've got to live with it - or my team has to. And I'm not the one to start checking for minmaxer's guides online on my first playthrough!

At some point I was listening to the background music and thought that "this sounds just like Vault City" and of course it was. The composer, Mark Morgan, was also the one to blame for Fallout 2's musics (among other games). I really do approve of this.

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