The A-Team: My guide to building a Ranger Team
I’ve had Wasteland 2 for a while now, but didn’t get really into or have a playthrough that lasted into California until the Director’s Cut was released. But I’m really glad I didn’t. Perks, Quirks, and Precision Strikes were all added. The Perks and Quirks add considerable depth, especially for those of us that get our juices flowing building a team, sometimes even more so than actually playing the game.
One thing I struggled with when I first set out to build a new team of 4 was a direction. There are so many options with combat skills, noncombat skills, perks, quirks, etc that it’s hard to know where to go, what’s useful, what holes can be filled in with gear, trinkets, perks, and/or quirks.
But for me, picking an inspiration for my team of 4 was where I started figuring out what types of roles I wanted for my four team members.
Hence the A-team was born. You might know them better as Ranger team Echo-one.
Face, Support Damage & Smooth Talker Build Guide
Hannibal, Leader, Energy Weapon Specialist, & Team Medic Build Guide
Murdock, Ultimate Sniper Damage Build Guide
BA, Damage Sponge Tank Build Guide
In general for games like this, you have a certain Archetypes such as Leader, Skill Monkey, Healer, Ranged Damage, Melee Damage, or Tank. With Wasteland 2 (WL2) you can combine a number for these. And some work better than others. Some types of weapons make certain Archetypes work better.
For instance, the bladed weapons skill works better for a tank archetype than brawling because it allows for the perk Self-Defense (+1 AC) to be unlocked. Brawling doesn’t give any direct boosts to armor. However, bladed weapons, brawling, and blunt all work fairly well for Melee Damage; they just have different flavors. Blunt tends to hit harder but crits less often. Blade hits somewhat less as hard as Blunt, but crits a lot more. Brawling tends to give a lot of random status effects to the enemy and can be seen more as a debuffer.
Further, WL2 allows you to win the game without a leader or a tank or a ranged damage dealer or even a healer. These roles are very helpful, but you can beat the game without them.
For me, because I had decided the A-team would be my inspiration, it made sense that a couple Archetypes would be used. BA would be a melee type and/or tank, Hannibal would be my leader, and Face would be my smooth talker. But each would have a lot more skill points available for more skills and I still felt I needed a group medic and at least one damage dealer.
So then I started filling the in gaps based on skill goals and what tended to complement each other.
My main goal starting out was to have every major skill covered, either through my main rangers or through recruits, so I could explore and enjoy the game completely. In my opinion the two best recruits (without any crazy Charisma requirements), based on attribute distribution and skill compliments, are Chisel and Vulture’s Cry. Chisel makes for a good melee damage blunt user with good hard ass and brute force skills. Vulture, I could sculpt into a mechanic and toaster repairman; she also could get one good sniper shot off per round complimenting Murdock well. It was difficult not giving BA the mechanic skill because roleplaying reasons but min/max wise it didn’t help him get any necessary “tank” perks and his build is very “perk hungry”; in other words, I could easily give him more perks (more opportunity strike perks for instance) and still feel like he wasn’t totally complete.
That left lockpicking, safecracking, computer science, alarm disarm, demolitions, smart ass, and kiss ass. I was skipping handguns, smg’s, heavy weapons, and shotguns for their awful reputation (first two have issues with range and damage, heavy weapons suffer from no weapon mods and jamming). My first half assed playthrough I did originally have handguns and heavy weapons; pretty disappointing. I will say though, after crafting this team, I think I’ll have a go with trying to make 3 (handguns, shotguns, heavy weapons) of those work well in a team; it will take some real min/maxing to make them work as they are fairly underachieving weapon skills. I was also surprised that large rockets aren’t “heavy weapons”; they’re considered explosives. It was confusing at the time.
Murdock fits the sneaky build, at least roleplay wise so he got lockpicking and safecracking. I might have given him alarm disarm or computer science, but a single trinket (Cat Burlgar mask) gives +2 to those specific skills making that an easy choice. Computer Science also fits Hannibal’s energy weapon use well, allowing him to get the perk Roboticist. Alarm Disarming went to BA so he could run through ambushes without triggering them and so he could get 3% more evasion. Demolitions went to Hannibal mostly due to the fact that there’s SO MANY landmines in the game that it would give lots of good xp (and bonus Charisma xp to boot). Smart and Kiss Ass naturally went to Face because it fits his character extremely well.
Attribute fine tuning is a tricky balancing act. You want enough speed to move to cover during combat and some builds/perks need excess combat speed to counter act either gear or quirk malus (I’m looking at you Thick Skinned and Heavy Armor).
I found this Wasteland 2 – Ranger Creation Toolkit and found it extremely useful in both planning the level 1 build of my team as well as figuring out what they would eventually look like at level 44.
I picked 44 because it seemed fairly reasonable to hit and because it gives 4 attributes, 11 perks, and 43 levels of skill points (For Intelligence 1: 86 skill points, 4: 129 skill points, 8: 172 skill points, and 10: 215 skill points). To go from 0 to 10 in a single skill, you need 44 points. How much SP upgrading a skill costs depends on the skill level: levels 1-3 cost 2 points per increase, levels 4-6 cost 4 points per increase, levels 7-9 cost 6 points per increase, and bumping your skill value from 9 to 10 costs 8 points. In essence, if you don’t take in account skill books, trinkets, or perks, Intel 1 gives 2 full skills, 4 allows 3 full skills, 8 is 4 full skills, and 10 is 5 full skills, but as you can see from most of my builds, I rarely go to skillpoint 10 except for weapon skills and a few specific others. I will use trinkets a lot to fill the gaps.
As pointed in the individual team member building guides, with damage dealers, I prioritize Combat Initiative (CI) above all else and fine tune AP to allow for a minimum of 2 shots per round. BA, I prioritize attribute distribution for gear use and survivability. For Hannibal I wanted as much Charisma as I thought needed, maxed intelligence for his wealth of skills I had planned, and then put the rest to raise his CI and AP stats as high as possible.
All in all, I hope that helps explain why I picked certain skills for certain team members, why I picked the accompanying attributes and trinkets, and why I picked the recruits I did.
So far, Ranger team Echo-one…err I mean the A-team have been kicking butt and taking names; I don’t doubt they’ll keep doing so.
Next up, I may post my theory crafting on how to make a worthwhile shotgun, pistol, or heavy weapon builds. I’ve playing with some ideas; heavy weapons is fairly easy to make OP but unfortunately it’s not OP without Combat Shooting. Shotgun and Pistols suffer tremendously from range issues so I’m toying with using the monocle trinket for the +3m max range bonus, but it has a -4 CI malus…OUCH.
Good luck and have fun out there!