Non-AR build

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Myrth
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Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 14th, 2018, 2:05 pm

After a bit of a break I decided to come back to W2... and after thinking it over, reading up guides and going back to all my old notes, I realised there is no real other option than all-AR team. I utterly can't see the point of going for any other weapons, sans maybe sniper rifles and (vanilla, not DC) energy weapons.
Am I missing something? I don't really feel like playing for the n-th time as all-AR squad, since been there, done that at least 5 times. But the other weapons are just... meh? And for the love of God, I can't see any sensible application of melee. The ammo problem is non-existent for me, aside some early stress in Ag Center (which assumes I pick it), while all other weapon options just feel too niche and narrow.
Either way - am I missing something, or AR are simply the go-to weapon and everything else is just fluff?

And yeah, I'm well aware this forum is pretty much hibernated now, but still no better place to ask.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Drool » December 14th, 2018, 2:58 pm

I beat the DC without much difficulty using:

Blunt
Shotgun/Energy
Pistol
Sniper/Brawling
Sniper
SMG/Brawling
Bladed
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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 14th, 2018, 3:16 pm

Yeah, but HOW do you force yourself to just not stick to AR in the first place.

Melee stuff is out of question, bar the very early game, there is zero advantage of getting close to enemies, rather than just shooting them up from safe distance.
Shotguns start weak, then get decent, then are forever overshadowed by poor range, while being so-so.
SMG start great, then get good, but then by Canyon/Damonta range starts to be a serious issue. Then by Cali they are pretty much pea shooters.
DC-wise, energy weapons get seriously nerfed, to the point where it's questionable if it's worth bothering against ligh-armoured (but still high AC) enemies.
And pistols are simply weak.
Would probably use the shit out of Heavy Weapons if they could be modded in any way. With jamming being a common issue and range being all over the place, they end up just forgotten.

And then there are ARs - good range, good damage, plentiful ammo, good mods, burst and single-shot... and in DC they are the only weapon class with all-around great perks. Sniper rifles come only second due to how hard it would be to manage all-sniper team ammo-wise, but still it's perfectly viable to have two snipers around (either VC or training Rose in them aside my own sniper). It's not even about other options being harder or ARs making things easier. It's the utility.
I'm playing a game, god-damn it. I don't want to have real-life logic applied to weapon choices. But the game just follows the real-life reasoning and thus there are either boring all-AR teams or wacky builds that have a bunch of issues and simply underperforming.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Gillsing » December 14th, 2018, 5:48 pm

Ask not what your weapon can do for you, but what you can do for your weapon? While assault rifles certainly seem to be the best weapons in the game once you can get enough optimal range with both Long Barrels and Tactical Scopes, you don't really need the best weapons in the game, do you? It might be more of a challenge to use lesser weapons, but if it's not too much of a challenge, why not enjoy the change of pace? A game is supposed to be fun to play, not an exercise in optimization. Unless that is what's fun for you. But then you might be better off playing something like Path of Exile, where I spent a few months feeling inadequate. I'm sure there are no ends to the needs for optimization in that game.

While trying out a few different Ranger teams, I read that assault rifles were supposed to be the best weapons. But sniper rifles have longer range out of the box, and no penalty at maximum range, so I went with one of those instead. It wasn't until I save-scummed a G41 that I had Ralphy put 44 skill points into Assault Rifles, and then he could use The Lariat to save Jamie the Robot from speeding away to his doom in Whittier.

And I've used melee weapons a lot. Twitchy Speed 10 Ranger can be upon enemies in the blink of an eye, and then it's snicker-snack for only 2-3 AP a go. Blunt weapons too, used by the Thick-Skinned Armor 13 Ranger, who makes sure to wield a knife at the end of turn for the extra Self Defense. There's no rush when enemies only have weak assault rifles with Penetration 7 and no Full Metal Jacket perk to make them do more than 0% damage.

As for heavy weapons, you get a unique one with 0% jam chance in Damonta if you play your cards right, and then you can quickly save-scumm a minigun in Los Angeles. Though terrible optimal range of 5-10 meters, which is 3-5 tiles if each tile is 2 meters, so most of the time it'll be at -40% at 6-12 tiles. But with Leadership and/or Psychopath it still seems usable. If there was a use for it. I guess using either a minigun or the Big Betty to apply Bullet-Ridden to targets could be something, while a another Ranger could use a handgun or 3-4 AP energy weapon for quick Precision Strikes to the torso, reducing enemy Armor enough to give top tier SMGs and shotguns 100% damage against that target? Not as convenient as assault rifle bursts, but it could be more fun?

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Drool » December 14th, 2018, 6:56 pm

Myrth wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 3:16 pm
Yeah, but HOW do you force yourself to just not stick to AR in the first place.
Because I found all those weapons more enjoyable?
Melee stuff is out of question, bar the very early game
That's cute. You've clearly never used brawling which completely obliterates in the end game, even with a low strength.

I dunno, quit looking at the numbers and actually play the game? It's not difficult in the slightest to build a melee beast who can hustle across the map and flatten people with a hammer. You don't even need to min/max.

As for pistols, they have exceedingly inexpensive ammo and a lot of it. And they have a much lower AP cost. In several fights, my pistolero would spend his turn finishing off three or four enemies who just managed to live through the bigger guns. His bonus damage against nearly dead enemies coupled with the occasional free shot made him extremely useful.


But the real point is, if you don't like playing an all AR team and don't want to do it...

...don't.
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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 15th, 2018, 2:00 am

Gillsing wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 5:48 pm
you don't really need the best weapons in the game, do you?
Nope. But I do need a weapon with useful range. Since anything that isn't AR and sniper rifles by just tier 3 has short to mediocre range and the disparity only grows from there. All while my team gets skilled enough to reliably murder every target they aim at, so it's not even that I need a back-up in close range, since there in no close range.
Drool wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 6:56 pm
That's cute. You've clearly never used brawling
Never claimed I did. Used it only once, on my first attempt to beat the game (vanilla, straight after release, bugs up the wazoo, dropped due to excessive bugs by Canyon, didn't return to game for next 5 months and few patches), remembering how great it is in W1.
And it sucked so hard I started to think it's deliberate to play on memories on how good it was in W1 and waste points into it in W2. You know, trolling the player.
Drool wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 6:56 pm
It's not difficult in the slightest to build a melee beast who can hustle across the map and flatten people with a hammer.
Or I can just shoot people the moment they are in range. And since 99.99% times it's me starting the combat, the longer range I have, the better, since I can shoot enemies who can't even shoot back TWICE (first the surprise attack in real-time, then they need to close in due to range, half of them already dead by the end of first turn). Why waste my time on running to them, considering the damage is so-so and I get shot at when trying to get close? Instead I could use that time to fire 2-4 times (depending on weapon), killing 1-4 targets.
Drool wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 6:56 pm
As for pistols, they have exceedingly inexpensive ammo and a lot of it. And they have a much lower AP cost.
So are SMGs. Which I love to use, but eventually the limited range starts to make them inadequate.
Drool wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 6:56 pm
But the real point is, if you don't like playing an all AR team and don't want to do it...
...don't.
I can't, that's the thing. At least up until first trip to Prison/Rail Nomad Camp shotguns and SMGs are still useful. Which is the main reason why this is the most exciting part of the game for me - there are many combat options and my rangers aren't all that reliable yet due to low skill. But by Canyon and definitely by Damonta their range makes them useless and in Cali they start to lag behind with penetration, too. So anything that isn't AR and sniper rifle starts to be simply useless, unless I want to deliberately wait and prolong combat.
Why would I want to prolong combat, when it means more chances to get injured or killed? ESPECIALLY in DC, which (thankfully!) removed the "heal to max CON on level-up", so there is a chance I might get killed or run out of med kits if I'm not careful. Meaning keeping distance and as much as possible, since that forces AI to come to me, rather than shooting back.

tl;dr range is a big thing for me

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Gillsing » December 15th, 2018, 3:09 am

Yes, range is the king of ranged combat. And assault rifles have the best range combined with firepower. It sounds like you need to change your mindset in order to stop using assault rifles. Think not of yourself as a Desert Ranger trying desperately to stay alive, but as a player playing a game where you control a group of Desert Rangers. While you, the player, knows damn well that assault rifles just makes sense, maybe your Rangers don't, and choose to go with a bunch of lower range weapons because the katana is the best sword fight me and Uzi 9 mm is so cool and their dad once said that nothing beats a 40W plasma rifle and so on.
Myrth wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 2:00 am
Why would I want to prolong combat, when it means more chances to get injured or killed?
Because it's exciting to have to bust out your Surgeon every once in a blue moon! :D
Myrth wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 2:00 am
ESPECIALLY in DC, which (thankfully!) removed the "heal to max CON on level-up", so there is a chance I might get killed or run out of med kits if I'm not careful.
So, do you or don't you want to put your Rangers at risk? I'm getting mixed signals here.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 15th, 2018, 3:17 am

Look, it's not about risk as such. It's about... dunno, waste of time? When I have all-AR team, I engage all the targets at once, with everyone having roughtly the same coverage. If I have mixed weapons, part of my squad is going to either just wait (boring, wasting opportunities to kill, etc) OR, which is far worse, has to close in, meaning that rather than already killing things dead, I'm first having to get close enough to them to get them killed, in the process very likely dying myself due to the way how combat works. The death is not the problem because "muh dying", but because that means I died for nothing - didn't kill anyone.
AR and sniper rifles allow me to simply shoot when I please to. With other weapons (sans some of EW) I have to wait, doing nothing. Doing nothing is sad and boring.

Ironically, in W1, where everything was text based, running toward your enemies and pummeling them with bare fists was THE best thing ever. But I didn't have a tacticool map and tacticool weapons, instead just an abstract distance to cover and then start punching things and everything going in my imagination. In W2, I've got actual combat map and moves and all those things that take out the combat from abstraction and instead make it very much about moving pieces over a board. And unlike W1, it's me who starts the combat, rather than enemies already attacking me. So why not use that for my advantage?
In other words, to NOT play with all-AR squad, I would have to deliberately take my time with combat. And the combat of W2 is simply not worth it. It ain't Jagged Alliance. And by Cali, non-AR weapons simply don't cut it with raw damage and penetration, so not only I have to take my time, but then in actual combat the weapon sucks anyway.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Gillsing » December 15th, 2018, 3:47 am

Yeah, the combat was more fun in Wasteland 1. It takes forever in Wasteland 2, mostly because setting up takes so long time. But since it's mainly a combat RPG, why are you then playing it for the "n-th time" if you don't really enjoy the combat? Is n a really small number? Personally I haven't even finished the game yet. It just keeps fighting me all the way - a game that really doesn't want to be played.

Most of my Rangers tend to wait around during combat. Twiddling their thumbs while making sure VAX and Jamie the Robot don't go anywhere. It is indeed a bit boring having to skip all those turns. I suppose it might be more fun if I didn't have VAX or Jamie the Robot around, but in some early game experiments I got a little bit dismayed: "Do I really have to shoot all these zombies myself? It was so much easier when VAX shot most of them. Can't someone else do it?"

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 15th, 2018, 4:05 am

I like the game as such, that's the thing. I enjoy the fact you can completely forget what was your objective due to the sheer amount of side-tracking you constantly get tangled into and it's all very much engaging. As opposed to actual plot, which can be summed up as "Set up a radio transmitter, set up another, kill everything that moves on your way. Then take a ride to California and destroy local cult and get back home to save it". But the amount of stuff going on and unrelated with it makes you forget. Which is good.
But the combat is just so damn bland. It's either going for 100% efficiency with AR or skipping turns/running around with any other weapons. Precision Stikes and weapon re-balance in DC at least added some welcomed changes, but it all just falls short in the end, with AR still being head and shoulders above everything else - it's that the other weapons suck less now, rather than being good too.
So each time I return to the game I promise to myself I will spice things up and try something else than rifleman squad, but end up doing just that anyway due to the sheer lack of efficiency of any other build, along with making every Ranger identical with their stats. So I have four rangers with 4 1 8 2 8 4 1 stats and aside token sniper, three of them have 1-2 points in AR, then rest of points is spread over needed skills (so mostly Ass and "thieving"). Even Fallout games (1 & 2) allowed you to pursuit other things than just Small Guns 10 LK Sniper and have fun. Including punching gaping holes in bodies of your enemies. Here not playing the min-maxed AR build feels like waste of time (quite literally at times) and playing the same build over and over and over again gets boring too.
Kind of bad, because I enjoy the game itself.

And the n is... 8? Might be 9. That includes the times when I dropped the game. But most definitely finished it 5 times (4 of which with DC) and dropped 3 (all with vanilla).

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Drool » December 16th, 2018, 1:28 pm

Myrth wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 2:00 am
And it sucked so hard I started to think it's deliberate to play on memories on how good it was in W1 and waste points into it in W2. You know, trolling the player.
Categorically untrue.
I can't, that's the thing.
As the game does not prevent you from doing so, you most certainly can.
So anything that isn't AR and sniper rifle starts to be simply useless, unless I want to deliberately wait and prolong combat.
Again, this is categorically untrue.
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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 17th, 2018, 1:04 am

Drool wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 1:28 pm
Here, let me just say you are wrong, without doing anything else
Gee, thanks for so much help!

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Gillsing » December 17th, 2018, 1:15 am

There is no help though. If you're not willing to put in time and effort in a perhaps futile attempt to make combat more stimulating by playing around with the slightly more demanding weapons, you're stuck with assault rifles.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 17th, 2018, 1:32 am

Which is precisely why this thread exists in the first place - HOW to make it more stimulating with other weapons, if using them boils down to waiting. If it can be done, then I'm all ears.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Gillsing » December 17th, 2018, 2:01 am

Get in close range with as much of your team as possible before they initiate hostilities, and then you don't have to wait for them to be able to use their close range weapons? Enemies don't see that far, and most don't have particularly long range weapons.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 17th, 2018, 4:46 am

Guess I will just stick to AR and maybe try SMG as back-up. The combat system is oriented in such ridiculous way it's a hassle, rather than fun to do anything else than AR-based squad. Compare with, say, JA2, where you could make a duo team of a knife-thrower and a shotgun carrier and have time of your life with just those two.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by JoeSchmoeLaysLow » December 26th, 2018, 10:25 am

If you're intent on optimizing, then there is no better choice than a primarily AR squad with 1-2 snipers and possibly a single melee. Your messages almost sound like you're mad that no one is disproving this idea. Well, that's just not gonna happen. ARs are too good.

However, should you want to play a handicapped game on SJ, there is no better handicap than denying your squad ARs. It's a simple and consistent rule, and it opens up the combat system by exposing many strategic and tactical elements---things you've probably ignored in the past because it couldn't compare to your options in AR-centric builds.

In the absence of ARs, only snipers will fully penetrate enemy armor for most of the game. This puts additional importance on Precision Strikes. Chest shots to reduce armor help, but arm shots become more important as well. With enemies living longer, the reduction in incoming damage becomes more important.

Without ARs, it is useful to have a low-AP weapon that can blast out 2-3 debuffs per turn. The best combination of area coverage and low AP usage comes from energy weapons, which gives them a niche in the longer encounters. They won't be competitive on damage, but it makes Pizepi's skill allocation useful for once.

And, BTW, there is a sniper build that can out-damage AR users throughout the game. I can post it, or, as it sounds like you're looking for a challenge, I can leave it to you.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 28th, 2018, 7:56 am

JoeSchmoeLaysLow wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 10:25 am
Your messages almost sound like you're mad that no one is disproving this idea
I really, really wish someone did. Or rather - could.

As far as I'm concerned, Pizepi is not worth the hassle to first have the very high squad Charisma to get her. In vanilla, she could use the Gamma Ray Blaster and be consistently useful. In DC she's good for mid-game and nothing really else - not enough ammo early on (not to mention impossible to get her without save-editing to get decent suits) and then EW don't scale against non-conductive targets.

Either way, California by now, the team consists of 3 AR users, 2 snipers (VC included) and Ralphy, also with AR. One of the AR users is Psychopath with SMG as secondary. Works pretty well in close, but otherwise I just go for AR. Really wish the combat was more... engaging? I don't even know how to name it properly. My golden standard for such games is always JG2, especially with the 1.13 patch. And W2 falls short to compete with it, despite being combat-centric game. Everything that's NOT combat is great, but there is so much combat, it just turns into clicking around without paying much attention to anything or any compelling builds that don't exploint AR's and sniper supremacy.
I was simply hoping that I'm wrong and there are other, viable and just as potent options. Why having... 10 different weapon classes, if three are complete joke, five fall short and two are so god-damn powerful (especially by comparison) the game turns into either zero opposition boring OP build or slugishly boring underpowered build.

tl;dr make combat fun again!

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Gillsing » December 28th, 2018, 8:53 am

Myrth wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 7:56 am
(not to mention impossible to get her without save-editing to get decent suits)
The radiation around Darwin is only 2, so the shoddy radiation suits you can buy in the beginning are good enough. You just need to get into the citadel to have someone put Darwin on your map.

And you could get the better suits without much combat right after Ag Center and Highpool. It's just the cave to get to Red, and then the gila monitors at the RV if you don't get the suits straight from Red by using the hidden dialogue option. Though you could also skip the cave and go through his front gate with the code from Wasteland 1, or just demolish his turrets while wearing Combat Armor. I think those turrets have Penetration 0, just like the ones in Darwin. With Hardened it would be 0 damage, so Angela Deth could do it easily. Maybe things were harder in the release version of the game, and that's what you remember?

Myrth wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 7:56 am
Why having... 10 different weapon classes, if three are complete joke, five fall short and two are so god-damn powerful (especially by comparison) the game turns into either zero opposition boring OP build or slugishly boring underpowered build.
Because people like options, even if they're worse options. It's rather natural that a couple of weapon types would end up on top if there are ten of them. One player did a playthrough with Widowmakers and thought that was "incredibly fun". Clearly not for you, but you're not the only one playing this game.

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Re: Non-AR build

Post by Myrth » December 28th, 2018, 9:29 am

Gillsing wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:53 am
And you could get the better suits without much combat right after Ag Center and Highpool.
By that point early game is over, thou.
Gillsing wrote:
December 28th, 2018, 8:53 am
Because people like options, even if they're worse options. It's rather natural that a couple of weapon types would end up on top if there are ten of them. One player did a playthrough with Widowmakers and thought that was "incredibly fun". Clearly not for you, but you're not the only one playing this game.
Have you ever played Jagged Alliance 2? Especially 1.13 or just Straciatella patch (but vanilla will do)?
Every. Single. Weapon is just as viable, with ample tactical application for pretty much everything, be it a pea-shooter pistol, light support weapon, knife or a sniper rifle with some tacticool stuff added to it. And this "viability" covers both different weapon claseses and types. You can pick any gear you want and still play with it. Not in sense of perfect utility, but simply ability to use it in EFFECTIVE manner, with game designed in a way allowing it, rather than a joke item or self-imposed challenge.
That game was made 18 years ago on pretty limited computing capabilities.
Wasteland 2 had absolutely TRASH combat upon release and stays like that in vanilla to this day (but vanilla is pretty much discontinued, so go figure). DC changed things around, but simply not enough to truly shake the awful design choices, making potentially a lot of options, but in the end still boiling down to ARming. The tactical applications are pretty much bare bones (as compared with none in vanilla, so comperatively still a big jump forward). In the end we have a quasi-tactical shooter game with combat system that's designed for something like Fallout in mind, with clear item progression (and I'm not talking tiers here) and making a lot of options superflous in actual application.
So when I read crap like "b-but some options just have to be bad" I'm confused. Are we still in mid 80s and designing a coin-fed arcade game to simply mess with players?

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