DOS and DON'TS in WL3, incl. gear choices and squad builds (all SJ proven)

Discuss Wasteland 3 gameplay topics like builds, systems, items, and combat. Please avoid spoilers in subject lines.
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As a little introduction, i am a full WL veteran, having played all 3 games pretty intensively and ofc having a bunch of WL3 playthroughs on Supreme Jerk. I am just used to taking notes during the game and also giving advice on the WL discord channel and thus decided to share some insights. Please note that the given advice is coming from my subjective point of view and experience. I am also more of a power gamer than a casual gamer. I believe that most of what i suggest helps quite a bit, but its all subject to personal choice. For example i decided at some point to not use pets at all pretty much (read more below for reasons), but if you cant live w/out them, you should go ahead with them ofc ... but at least be warned ;)

For easier reading i structured the text into different chapters and segments. Also please note that i am not a sophisticated writer - my texts are usually fairly brief and on point. Dont hesitate to ask if sth is not clear :)

0. TLDR: quick tipps

1. Gear
1.1 Weapons & Armor
1.2 Mods
1.3 Merchants

2. Squad Building
2.1 General
2.2 Synergies
2.3 Skills and Perks
2.4 Quirks and backgrounds
2.5 Attributes
2.6 Pets
2.7 Sample build & playstyle

3. Ingame choices
3.1 Story choices (to maximize rewards)
3.2 Early steps (to get you geared up quickly)
3.3 Recovery tactics


Here some of the most important infos briefly for the impatient ppl:

1. STRIKE ATTACKS are super strong and can make a huge difference. Use them and plan your chars accordingly. You want Charisma for at least 20% or 25% strike rate. You can raise that additionally with Opportunist perk, Major Toms buff, Steeltowm Elite Exo headgear and some other stuff.

2. SYNERGIES can add a lot of combat power. Use the right background (for example Disciple of Metal for 15% fire dmg bonus), the right skills (e.g. Weird Science and Toaster repair for up to 55% fire bonus) and the right armor (e.g. Elite Exo Pyro Armor for 30% fire bonus) to double your dmg output with a fire dmg weapon. Note that you can mod any weapon into that!

3. MODDING your weapon helps a lot. Range scopes are very powerful (but also rare - dont waste them!). Same is true for mods that turn your damage into fire or explosive dmg for example, with the mentioned synergetic abilities. Shortened and Titanium barrels are very powerful on SMGs and HMGs b/c they add a set amount of dmg to every single bullet. And finally there is stuff like Quickfire mag or Advanced Material Mag, reducing AP to attack or reload. The latter can be really strong with the right weapon or perk ("Draw!")

4. SHORTCUTTING to late game weapons is possible to give you an edge. Read in the next chapter how and where ...

1. Gear

1.1 Weapons & Armor
Range scopes are very limited (around 6-9 in game - not available from field stripping, only from merchants), but super useful und almost necessary due to the very short range of most weapons. You dont wanna waste them on low-mid level weapons, not even the low level mods b/c they can be enhanced into the better versions later. Thats why you want to shortcut to the best, early available weapons asap, which are PDW, Ripper, Minigun, Rattler and Power Gauntlet. This is where you find them:

1. PDW (explosive SMG): At Massacre Site in Eastern Dunes. You need a Rad Protection 2 chassis, available after finishing the Bizzare Slaver mission (from Gideon). Go there asap. Use perception enhancers, like Brain candy if necessary. Can also use Survival skill to bypass world map encounters (raise Lucia to 6 + 1 from trinket)

2. Ripper (SMG) and Minigun (HMG): 3-4 chances to get it early - good luck!
1) Safe in Patriarch Palace (needs Lockpick 10)
2) Chest in Ranger HQ behind code you get for selling Hallie to slavers (La Perla)
3) Dig sites and corpses at Massacre Site (very random tho)
4) Scorpitrons on the world map, esp. outside Tellurium mine. Bit tougher, but doable with a few endgame weapons even early on.

3. Power Gauntlet (Brawling): You get one for sure from a chest from La Perla.

4. Rattler (Handgun): buy from Taiwan Jones in Colorado Springs ($190)

5. Guardian (Handgun): not exactly super duper, but also not too shabby and you get one with Weird Science 7 in Patriarch palace (Libertys room)

1.2 Mods
Generally crit scopes and hit chance under-barrel mods are plenty and you get them from Field Stripping. Same is true for most barrel mods. So dont hesitate to use that stuff on the weapons you are currently using. All of these are usually not relevant for your 'final' weapons. Just dont be wasteful with some the mods mentioned below - those being underlined.

I. Ranged Weapons

Dont use the green or blue versions of the range scopes, they can be enhanced with Crafting. Also dont waste them on crappy stuff. Keep em for: PDW, Ripper, Minigun, Rattler, Man Hunter, maybe early Guardian, some ARs (Blastermaster, Atom Smasher). Maybe on snipers (Eliminator, Black Star), but they have good range and i suggest a crit scope instead.

Titanium-cobalt barrel / Shortened Barrel are getting better and better the more bullets your weapon uses per attack, b/c it adds its full dmg per bullet. I.e. its pretty amazing on the Rattler handgun and most SMGs / HMGs. And esp. on Ripper and Minigun.

Same if true for the new Razor Linkage under barrel mod (+8 dmg), if you are not using an elemental under barrel mod (Incendiary, HE Fuse linkage etc.). Therefore its great on the PDW for example or on the Rattler (early on, before you put an elemental mod on). On weapons that shoot few bullets or only 1 even, either hit chance or crit multiplier mods are probably more reasonable. Use SWAT light on weapons with special attacks like Unload (has hitchance malus), otherwise Ultraviolet laser sight can be nice on weapons/Chars with high crit chance.

Quickfire Mag should go on a weapon with max 3-4 AP cost (more beneficial than on a 7 AP weapon like HMG or sniper). Most likely PDW or maybe the Ripper. The latter is more bullet hungry though.

Advanced Material mag is awesome on some high AP weapons, like snipers or HMG (see below regarding Skills/Perks). They are not unique but can be crafted! You definitely want to use them on chars that have the Draw! perk! and their weapons, like Minigun or Rattler.

Extended choke is great on the Hazard Shield Generator, letting you shield your buddies from further away. Also increases the range of special abilities like Pressure Choker.

II. Melee weapons

My main brawler switches between 2 Power Gauntlets: one is modded with Cryo Capsule (frost dmg) and Fibreglass Grip (6% crit) to deal damage, the other one with Concussion bell (stun proc) and Overmolded grip (7% hit) in case he is in CC mode. Note that crit mods cannot be field stripped, but only bought from merchants. So dont be too wasteful with them.

III. Armor

Leg armor and speed mods:
I put 1 Exoknee on (early) Power Armor legs + 1-2 on Scout pants that i give to my SMG or HMG users
Later Personel Drives go on Exoskeleton and Verchitin Legs, 1-2 Spectrum Assault and 1-2 Elite Pyro Exo Legs (depending on what you use)
Dont bother with the top level leg speed enhancer. Its garbage b/c of the -1AP
Initiative boosting leg mods are an alternative. Having 1-2 chars at 100% initiative can help on recovering from being jumped (read more in 3.3)

I put the +65% elemental resistance chest armor mod (Phase Temper Controller) on Verchiting armor to get to >100% with the +20% trinket. Can use that on a lot of chest pieces b/c its super helpful in Steeltown, due to elemental attacks from the enemies there.

There is new head mods available and fairly cheap to craft - Tactical HUD and 2 upgrades to increase ranged and melee dmg. Original one needs only 3 in Armorsmith and you get the recipe automatically with the increased skill. Upgrades are on skill levels 6 and 9. Get that stuff asap!

1.3 Merchants
Buy all of these mods asap:
1. all xx mm magnifying Scope (green, blue, red - 6-11 in the game, depending what you do): Snapping Jimmy/Colo (1), Piscitelli/Bizarre (2+2), B.B. Gun (random: 0 or 2), Nancy Forge/Denver (1), Cheebus/world map (1), Serena Ash/Steeltown (1), Mechanic/Yuma (1). As a last resort, you can get extra range scopes by buying out these merchants for all their items. This will reset their stock. Serena Ash / Steeltown is relatively cheap, b/c she doesnt have expensive weapons, but it will still be around $4.000 to 5.000 for everything ...
2. Incendiary Linkage (Bizzare *2 - vendor resets after turnover, so buy asap; also relevant for the range mod!)
3. Farsight Computer scope (machine commune vending machine)
4. Shortened Barrel (machine commune robot in denver just outside machine commune)
5. all Exoknee (2 or 3 in the game)
6. all Personel Drive (5 in the game iirc)
7. all Phase Temper Controller
8. Concussion Bell (Aspen)
9. and maybe 2-3 Ultraviolet under barrel mods (+0.2x crit) + 2-3 fibreglass grips (+6% crit)

Buy the Rattler gun (Taiwan Jones)
Maybe buy a Spiked Helmet at Bizarre (for the Rattler user)
Possibly buy some-all Tactical nukes if you can afford them (rare)
Buy Chemtek Vest from Nancy Forge / Denver vendor asap (she might be unavailable later)
Buy all +1 skill trinkets asap (except the barter one that you get from quest early)
Buy all skillbooks asap
Buy most .45 bullets if you use multiple SMGs, esp. those from world map vendors you only see once
Probably buy Spikes if you use the Rattler.

IMPORTANT: Dont encounter a world map merchant if you cant afford to buy - you can only check them once! And dont steal, you morron ;)

2. Squad building

2.1 General advice
Imo you shouldnt build individual chars and builds, but instead plan your complete squad at once. Use as many synergies as possible, for example combining Background/Quirk, skills and attributes for a fire dmg char (Disciple+Weird Sc.+Toaster), but make sure your party covers the basic skills.

And your party needs to be able to keep relevant skill levels up for the zones you are in - hardly possible if you give 4 non-combat skills to a single char for example.

So plan your whole party and distribute all relevant skills among it, as efficiently as possible. Toaster repair should go to the guy with the fire dmg weapon, and not to one who doesnt use one for example. Same for Weird Science. I.e. when you change a skill for one char, you have to touch another char to give him that skill you would otherwise miss. Sounds logic, but i just want to make sure ... ;)

2.2 Creating Synergies
Most synergies affect combat stats and include the use of Backgrounds, Skills, Perks and Items. Although its also possible to make a (non-combat) skill-oriented Char with synergies, for example the Bookworm background. But thats boring, b/c after all you are here to create some massive carnage.

Those combat synergies are related to the element of damage you want to have a specific character do. The standard synergetic combinations are nothing new but sth you could read all over the internet in the past months. However they are still true:

1. Explosive Damage (up to 70% with 5% from a doll)
Explodomaniac (background)
Explosives (skill)
and an explosive dmg weapon (or any weapon modded with HE Linkage)
You could also add the Pyromaniac quirk, but there are better options (Sadomasochist for example).
Another addon would be Sneak Attack, so you could profit from the sneak attack bonus when launching a rocket or a grenade to initiate combat.
And its worth combining it with Automatic Weapons, b/c one of the best weapons in game is an explosive dmg SMG (PDW).

2. Fire Damage (up to 100%)
Disciple of the Metal (background)
Toaster Repair (perk level 7)
Weird Science
(elite) Pyro Exo Armor
and a fire dmg weapon (or any weapon modded with Incendiary Linkage will do)
You could also add the Pyromaniac quirk, but there are better options (Sadomasochist for example)

3. Frost or Energy Damage (up to 60%/65% with doll)
Weird Science
(elite) Cryo / Energy Exo Armor
and a weapon doing frost or energy damage (or any weapon modded with Cryo / Plasma Linkage).
Due to the lack of a specific background and the Toaster Repair perk, it obv gets less dmg modifiers than fire and has less potential.

4. Experience gainer
Lockpick is the most used skill, followed by Mechanics and Explosives. You could bundle 2 or 3 of them on 1 char to maximize EXP gain and use that char to push levels on others (read below on that). Can add Bookworm and/or Poindexter background/quirk.

2.3 Skills and perks
You should want to have Lockpick, Mechanics, Explosives, Sneaky Shit, Weird Sc., Nerd Stuff, Toaster Repair, Hard Ass, Kiss Ass among your squad in the required levels for the zone you are in, to get the most out of the zones and be flexible regarding story choices

First Aid has a few uses (aside of combat), so might be helpful too on higher levels. ALso necessary to get a jump on drools on the world map. And reviving someone with high 1st Aid can prevent injuries, saving Injury packs. Might be worth it when you kill your own ppl for Varangian blood procs.

Leadership is a nice thing in combat, esp. rally and the kill bonus. Its good on someone with a high kill rate. Let that guy be the 1st to attack.

Animals suck, so Animal Whisper is up to you. You might want skill lvl 1, maybe 2 on some chars for useful buffs. Other than this, it lets you get the jump on your enemies (toads iirc). But you might survive w/out the skill :)

Survival: dont use it if you want EXP from world map encountes. No other real use outside that, so pretty much screw it ... except for rushing early to the Massacre site in Eastern dunes. With level 8 you can avoid all the potential lethal world map encounters there. You can use Lucia for that, get her to lvl 6-7 skill and equip her with the skill trinket. And after you are back, you might wanna retrain her ...

Put Weaponsmith, Armorsmith and Barter on a dummy char. I use Jodie Bell for convenience reasons (she is in the garage). Cant craft (or sell junk) outside Ranger HQ then, but well ... Note however that DLC brought a new type of enemy encounter on the world map that require Weaponsmith to get the jump. So after all there is a reason to have it on your squad. However i encounter only 1-2 of them per game, so ...

Some skills are useful on multiple chars, often for Perks, for example:
1. Weird Science: +3% fire, cold, energy dmg per level is good on anyone who does that kind of dmg. There are also items (Exoskeleton armor for example) that need Weird Sc. as prereq!
2. Toaster Repair: lvl 7 perk has + fire dmg, see above. Raise to lvl 5 and use Mactavishs Head + the Toaster skill trinket to get the lvl 7 perk!
3. Small Arms: lvl 3 perk is a general +5% strike rate - should be on everyone (might change with a future patch though). lvl 7 perk Draw! is crazy good to get cheaper attacks, esp. for Snipers, HMGs or Ripper. Even better with Advanced materials mag (-1 ammo -1 AP reload). Switch auto reload off too!
4. Mechanics: lvl 3 perk offers +20% to robots/vehicles/synths. You only need 1 skill level to get the perk with Mactavish/Machine shop head + skill trinket. Put it on everyone!
5. First Aid: lvl 1 perk for speed buff in case a party member dies (if that happens often ... or you create that for Varangian blood chars)
6. Animal Whisperer: lvl 1 allows you to tame Billie Jean, Chickens or Major Tom (although cigarettes work too) for useful buffs. Lvl 2 adds cats. Learn below how to remove pets and keep their buffs only.

2.4 Quirks and backgrounds
Explodimaniac and Disciple of Metal are obv your choice when you go for the synergies (see above). I prefer Sadomasochist over Pyromaniac, b/c its a higher damage modifier and the drawback is irrelevant on SJ (could even be helpful regarding Varangian Blood).

Goat Killer (5% crit) is always a good alternative for a neutral build. Same is true for Serial Killer (-1AP, but +3 AP proc when you kill sth)

On my melees i prefer Lethal Weapon (10% dmg) over Mopey Poet (5% evasion), but both are good. Sex Machine (+0.2 speed) is also worth considering. I also love Two Pump Chump (+2 AP for first 2 turns, then malus) on a brawler, b/c the early turns is when you need him the most.

But the true shit is Varangian Blood. Procs when someone dies for +3 AP (which is nice) and +100% crit (WHICH IS F*CKING NUTS). It has two uses: 1. Gives you a much better chance to recover when you getting jumped badly (like early game when i always lose 1-2 ppl in turn 1 to Brygo and his men) and 2. You can kill your own peeps to proc it (like moving 1st with Lucy and position her close to enemies so you can torrent strike over her and the enemies). Its so massive that i use them on all 4 PCs in my sample squad build below. I however suggest an alternative if you are not ready for the hype train.

I dont think any backgrounds or quirks not listed here are useful for a power gamer. But if you want sth else for fun, diversity or just b/c sth is wrong with your head, go for it!

2.5 Attributes
Charisma is probably the most important attribute, b/c the strike rates are very powerful. You also want the 'right' amount of Charisma, i.e. either 25%, 34% or 50% strike rate, b/c any number in between isnt beneficial. 25% strike rate means you need 4 attacks to fill your strike meter, 34% will reduce that to 3. Note that the strike attack itself also fills your strike meter. Therefore your target level of Charisma depends on your weapon skill and whats possible to reach with its weapons:

1. Automatic/Big Guns/Small Arms: 34% is possible with 1 extra item/buff (Ranger Hat, Bards Armor, Punk Lover trinket, Major Tom buff ...), so 10 CHR it should be
2. Brawler: you dont have room for the mentioned extra item (b/c you want specific armor or trinkets) and 25% should be good enough with 1AP attacks, so 7 CHR it is usually
3. Sniper: 50% can be possible (depending on the individual strike rate bonus on the weapon - Eliminator has 15% for example), so you might want to end up on 10

CO: need a good number, doesnt hurt to have at least 6 on everyone. KInda depends on the weapon spec ofc (and its AP for attacks). Dont hesitate to get to 10.

Prio for the other attributes:
Brawlers: STR > SPD > INT / LK > AW
Other ranged: INT > AW > LK
Sniper: INT > LK > AW

Luck is argueably the best stat from sheer numbers, but also kinda erratic due to a high variance in the procs. I like LK on snipers b/c from midgame onwards they are only worth it if you crit with them. And melees will profit from lucky evasion if used as tanks + lucky actions from their movement. Otherwise i am generally the one who prefers steady numbers and benefits (or i am just a sad guy who cant handle the swings). Keep that in mind regarding my prios ;)

2.6 Pets
I recommend not using them, b/c they are in the way (blocking paths), stealing your exp (when they finish an enemy, your party does not get EXP!), killing stuff you dont want to die (Steeltown for example) and they plain simply slow down the game drastically.

Their buffs are nice to have, but imo not worth the hustle with pets around. You can however send pets to the kernel while keeping buffs in the Manage Squad screen: the buff persists when you remove a char and get him back in, while the pet is gone. Can even do multipe buffs at once, but its a bit cheesy ...

Even more important: dont use the non-pet NPCs like clone, cyber chicken and esp. the golden toaster. They suck even more and you cant even get rid of them that easily - the toaster for example cannot be killed! So if you want the toaster achievment you have to safe before and reload to continue w/out it ...

2.7 Sample builds and playstyle
So finally an example of a full squad build using as many synergies as i could work out (maybe more is possible, you never know). I like the first 3 PCs a lot, but the 4th one is still giving me headaches, b/c snipers are god damn awful trash once you leave the early game (where they are really nice). Thats why i went with an early game sniper that switches to Handguns and Rockets midway through the game.

The excel sheets might be a bit complicated to read. You see the char plan for levels 4, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 29 (where i always finish). In column F you see the skill levels for my char at level 10 and in column G the necessary amount of skill pts used. Same for other levels. 9+1 means i use a skill book on lvl 9 to get to 10. I sometimes keep some free points just in case (for surprising skill checks). I also marked my priorities with colors (dark green: prio A, light green prio B). Blue means kinda optional. Bolded are the (non-combat) skills that i want the char to make skill checks. Right side has suggested background, items etc.

I also plan my PCs to start on level 4 b/c i start with premade chars to get their trinkets (usually the Punk Lovers), get one of them to level 4 and create the first 2 of my PCs (usually my explsosive guy and the sniper). Then i clear the Ranger HQ, sell stuff for 550$ and create another 2 PCs, so i can drop those suckers out for good.

Finally pls note that i chose the builds also with available weapons in mind. PDW, Ripper, Rattler, Power Gauntlet and Minigun are available fairly early in game. PDW, Rattler and Power Gauntlet are even fix.

1. Brawler

Early game place him somewhere to act as a bullet sponge and use stuns (Stunning Blow / Thundering Strike) on biggest enemy. Mid/late game: stun machine & finisher. Use 1 Power Gauntlet with Concussion bell (stun proc) and an elemental one for more dmg in the other hand (one with cryp/pyro etc). If theres nothing left to stun: finish low targets - also to save ammo!
Note: keep the Glass Knucks in offhand to gain the speed buff, thats how it works currently (as of patch 1.4.5)


2. Fire Trooper

Its all about abusing a lot of torrent strikes - get to 34+% strike rate right away and make sure strike meter is full at end of combat for next encounter. Use an AR in the second hand for more range and to build up strike meter while saving .45 ammo. Crossboom is pretty nice for that tbh, due to 2 AP attacks. Besides that, learn how far you need to move to proc the Stormer perk and how to position yourself to get as many enemies as possible into the torrent strike cone.


3. Explosives Trooper (Rocketeer)

Early game initiate combat with a rocket (benefits from sneak attack). Mid/late game: switch to PDW and (later) Blastermaster. Try to initiate combat with BMs free grenade launcher. First char to go in order to get Leadership buffs for party - start off with Torrent strike. Otherwise it plays similar to the Fire Trooper above.


4. Energy Pistolero (early Sniper)

Snipe early game and take 2 shots after being rallied. However, snipers dont really scale well and it will be noticeable fairly soon (a lot of ppl find sniper okish, and they are, but other options are simply better imo). Thats why its only 3 skill points in Sniper, but they are not all wasted, b/c Mark Target is good for abusing the Rattler gun. You will need mods to get it flying: at least Titanium Barrel and maybe a Razor Linkage (from Gett Homestead) - rush to 7-9 Weaponsmith (use Trinket from Bizarre!) and craft them if necessary. You also need the Draw! perk to drop attacks to 2 AP for now (1 AP with Advanced Materials mag later!), b/c you Unload the whole ammo in 1 go, reload and get a free attack ... and repeat. Use Mark Target to increase hit chance and Precision strike to finish. This has the potential to do sick damage, but also uses A LOT of bullets. To save those i suggest using another weapon like a Guardian or your old Marksman rifle as backup. I suggest running him with Energy dmg for both diversification and b/c you wanna really abuse this on tougher fights, and these usually include stuff like scorpitrons or hp-heavy vehicles. Also the Weird Sc. perk "Microwave Research" works well on a weapon using 19 bullets per turn. You can mod your other handgun (Man Cannon etc) with frost dmg for even more diversification!

Note that he/she is also a semi-skill monkey with the focus on Lockpick & Mechanics. Therefore usually highest char on exp, so use him/her to push levels of other chars via Squad Management.


You can optionally go for a true sniper: full Sniper skill instead of Small Arms above 7. You also want to get CO to 10 and i would suggest to push LK before AW, b/c its about lucky hits to deal noticeable dmg in lategame.

5. Lucia

Early game just keep her stats and develop like this:
Prio A: Barter to 6 (7 with trinket for Perk to sell junk +Vegas games for early money)
Prio A2: Maybe Survival to 6-7 (+ skill trinket) to avoid world map encounters when going for PDW etc. early
Prio B: Hard Ass
Atributes: INT early for skill pts, CO to 4 or 6, CHA to 8-9

Later, esp. if you get an early Minigun, its worth retraining her into a fire dmg char, esp. when you dropped pts into Survival early (you dont need it later). Its kind of a semi sniper due to the good range, but also has nice CC gimmicks, for example Pressure choker to 'stun' vehicles, and can also torrent strike. I.e. very versatile. Its AP and bullet heavy though. I often keep her in reserve (i.e. use latest in a turn) and use her in a way that i need situationally.


6. Kwon -> Cordite

I start out with Kwon obv, but switch to Cordite asap. I just prefer a 2nd Brawler.

Developing Kwon:
Prio A: Kiss Ass to 4 to safe the kid in front of police office
Prio B: Leadership 3 for Rally (Perk!)
Prio C: More into Kiss Ass
Prio D: First Aid
Attributes: INT/CHA

Developing Cordite:
Leadership 3 Perk ASAP for Rally + Brawling 10 ASAP with last perk
Prio A: First Aid (to a reasonable level for the zone you are in)
Prio B: 3 in Small Arms and 5 in Melee for perks
Attributes: STR 10 > CHR to 7 > SPD 10 > CO 10
Weapons: Foam Finger / Power Gauntlet
Armor: Power Armor -> Verchitin Armor with resistance mod
Trinket: Adrenal Enhancer (+1 speed) / Cog Pendant (+20% resistances) / First Aid trinket

I usually Rally asap in turn 1 and use another one with Foam Finger. And use him to revive ppl obv. In steeltown however i use him more aggressively, b/c Brawlers are awesome, esp. for non-lethal playthroughs (1 AP per charge and he is almost invulnerable with his armor). I also let him tank some enemies, like scorpitrons (if necessary). Note that i dont retrain him usually. Wouldnt hurt (if you have the money), but his stats are not as bad as of others.

7. Jodie Bell (mule)

I use her as skill mule for Convenience reasons ... she is in the garage.

Prio A: Weaponsmith, Armorsmith
Prio B: Barter
Trinket: Modders Kit (+1 wpn/armsmith), Monocle (Barter)

3. Ingame choices: missions and others

3.1 Story choices
Some suggestions in order to maximize your rewards. First two are necessary to get the sample build running (will miss out on skill levels otherwise)!

1. Kill Mactavish for his head armor (+1 mechanic and toaster repair)

2. Kill Long John for his head armor (+1 nerd stuff) - need Cordite in the party!

3. Go for Hoon Homestead first, b/c you get Billie Jean and an HE Fuse Linkage that you otherwise wouldnt get.

4. Sell Hallie to Slavers for a lot of gear incl. Power Gauntlet, Power Armor, another lvl 21 weapon and ofc one of the best Helmets in the game. Its however possible now to safe her and reunite her with her mother in Steeltown, but i didnt see them again tho when i tried (and i went to Steeltown early) ... might change with next DLC, but for now the "right" (i.e. power gamers) choice is a sale.

5. Help Charly with Bizarre turnover. That opens Quarex' quest that will give you a +2% crit perk for each char + a good trinket for Varangian builds. And will reset bizarre vendors to get extra stuff like mods! Note that you cannot convince Quarex to join you at Ranger HQ if you got Junko Murayama aka the museum curator in. So dont do that for now, but you can still hire her once you got Quarex.

3.2 Early steps
Some suggestions of the early game to get you going, i.e. geared up quickly:

1. Start with the Punk Lovers default chars. Clear the dam (rescue Jodie, pick up Major Tom, the Hard Ass trinket and the Glass Knucks!). Get one of them to level 4 in Ranger HQ, then create 2 rangers (Picklock, Explosives, Mechanics are useful!). Clear full Ranger HQ, b/c some content will be removed after you left the 1st time. Rush to one of the Colorado vendors and sell stuff for $550 (can push Barter on the Punk Lovers with unused pts). Go back to Ranger HQ, create 2 more rangers and drop out the Punk Lovers.

2. Check Downtown (police station, shop, museum and thugs outside, doc, garage, merchants etc.), then clear Garden of Gods and pick up the Slavers quest from Gideon in Broadmoore heights that should be available after. Check Lucias house and the Patriarchs Palace for items (read 1.1)

3. Clear Sans Luxe, Mechanic shop and Las Vegas. Play, i.e. 'barter' some Black Jack for money in LV! Sans Luxe and LV arent super easy, but with Rockets and Strike abilities it should be doable. Turn quests in and leave to world map.

4. Clear Hoon Homestead for better rewards, then Arapaho Caravan.

5. Go to Bizarre Exterior and kill the Slavers - going in with fully loaded strike meters helps! Find Binocular trinket (+1 survival) and the recipe for red color close around the area quickly. Get inside the Bizarre (help with crafting a a new red), turn in (Slavers) & pick up quests (Gett, Monster Army Bunker, but not from Flab), and buy stuff from vendors (see 1.3). Leave Bizarre and tow back to Ranger HQ.

6. Turn in quests at Mama Cotter and Gideon. Go back to Ranger HQ, where La Perla should be waiting. Sell Halllie and pick up your well earned rewards. Then buy Level 2 Chassis at Ranger HQ, get Lucia to 6 or (safer) 7 Survival and equip Binoculars (if you wanna be safe). Leave for world map and go to Abandoned Oil Well (for Exosk. Head), then Massacre site (read 1.1) and maybe Nooka Zooka (requires Explosives 7 and Sneaky Shit 6 - push that on Kwow if necessary). Google for a map to find the way if necessary. Get a tow to Ranger HQ, but dont enter.

7. Drive over and clear Gett Homestead for the Razor Linkage recipe. Tow back to Ranger HQ. Talk to Gett for a perk.

8. Prepare yourself: sell Junk (make sure you have the lvl 7 barter perk), maybe retrain Lucia (esp. if you have a Minigun or pushed Survival) and craft and mod your stuff: Titanium Barrels on PDW, Ripper, Rattler, Minigun and Razor Linkages on PDW and Rattler. You should have 3x red 6m range scopes to put on your good stuff (PDW, Ripper > Rattler > Minigun). Incendiary Linkage on Ripper > Minigun (whatever you have). You should also be able to at least craft a bunch of Targetting Processors (head mods) to put on Ranger Hat (if you are a backer), Commandants Helmet, Spiked Helmet, Exoskeleton Helmet. You can also upgrade Exoknees and maybe use 1-2 Personal Drives on Power Armor legs and maybe a Scout Pant on an SMG user. But you want 6 for your lategame armor! You will need 6 Armorsmith and 9 Weaponsmith for all this and use the skill trinket you can buy at Bizarre. Now you should be ready for pretty much anything that comes next ...

9. Optional: if you are still unhappy with weapon drops, you can go for the scorpitron outside Tellurium Mine. Should be doable with PDW etc. and gives extra chances for Ripper, Minigun or Power Gauntlet.

3.3 Recovery
Sometimes you are getting jumped instead of acting first - in certain dialogues, on the world map w/out a skill ready or when you are just tumbling around. If that happens, some chars will still have their AP ready to act, due to high Speed, Sneaky Shit or special items. The new leg mods can get your chars to 100% easily, guaranteeing him/her to be able to act when jumped. It could be worth giving one of these mods to 1-2 chars. Good options are brawlers, b/c they can stun multiple enemies and position themselves as dmg sponges. Even better is your designated buffer char, b/c with Rally+Foam Finger he can give +4 AP to your party and enable everyone to act.

Varangian Blood offers even more options and sequence like this - with Cordite as my buffer with 100% initiative and 11 AP:
1. Kill Lucia (1 AP) -> all 4 PCs gain +3 AP and 100% crit
2. Revive Lucia (2 AP) -> Lucia revives with 3 AP
3. Use Foam Finger and Rally (8AP) -> all 5 other chars are on 7 AP

If Lucia isnt in range or survives the attack you can still Rally early and use another char (another brawler for example) to finish Lucia. But you should get the general idea ...
Last edited by frozyx on September 3rd, 2021, 8:39 am, edited 34 times in total.
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Nice power gamer guide :)

Agree - Varangian blood is insane on SJ.

The foam finger is just about the most powerful item in the game, but I found it screws up the accuracy of the character who uses it - have you found this to be true? I think this is a bug.

Animals - the only thing I really disagree with you on. Rally and Inspire (foam finger) effect your animal followers. Animals level up with your squad, so Major Tomcat at lvl 20+ does like 400 points of damage on a crit. Animals aren't effected by the SJ debuff either - they do full damage and take normal damage. Just take the first 2 AW perks to keep them alive. You can end up with 4 or more animal buddies on the same character if you do it in the right order. This is because the first time you recruit Polly, the Bison, or the weird bear suit dude in Steeltown you get to add them even if you already have a follower. You can always add Major Tomcat also - that's potentially 5 animal companions on the same guy. (Usually Billy and Jean, Major Tomcat, Polly, Bison, Bear dude).

I kind of disagree on snipers - chain ambush is pretty brutal, and a good Sadomasochist sneak sniper will one-shot just about anything round 0.

Agree the clone, the golden toaster, and Poltron are more annoying than useful - but I usually grab them just for the lolz.

I don't use the Draw! exploit or the animal follower buff exploit - that's BS (as you point out).
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Juris wrote: July 30th, 2021, 12:16 pm Nice power gamer guide :)

Agree - Varangian blood is insane on SJ.

The foam finger is just about the most powerful item in the game, but I found it screws up the accuracy of the character who uses it - have you found this to be true? I think this is a bug.

Animals - the only thing I really disagree with you on. Rally and Inspire (foam finger) effect your animal followers. Animals level up with your squad, so Major Tomcat at lvl 20+ does like 400 points of damage on a crit. Animals aren't effected by the SJ debuff either - they do full damage and take normal damage. Just take the first 2 AW perks to keep them alive. You can end up with 4 or more animal buddies on the same character if you do it in the right order. This is because the first time you recruit Polly, the Bison, or the weird bear suit dude in Steeltown you get to add them even if you already have a follower. You can always add Major Tomcat also - that's potentially 5 animal companions on the same guy. (Usually Billy and Jean, Major Tomcat, Polly, Bison, Bear dude).

I kind of disagree on snipers - chain ambush is pretty brutal, and a good Sadomasochist sneak sniper will one-shot just about anything round 0.

Agree the clone, the golden toaster, and Poltron are more annoying than useful - but I usually grab them just for the lolz.

I don't use the Draw! exploit or the animal follower buff exploit - that's BS (as you point out).
Thx and ye, i was expecting pets to be the most controversial topic. I am just way too annoyed by them by now, which is why i cba to ever touch them again. And i dont feel like i miss anything. They might do a lot of damage, but i dont even want them to, b/c they could kill sth and make me miss experience.

I like snipers early game, which is the thoughest part of the game. But later on even chain ambush wont cut it for me. You get it deep in midgame when you dont have many encounters that go past turn 1 anymore. And even if, the damage isnt exciting most of the time imo. Not compared to other weapons.

While i grab 1 pet buff per char (and drop the pet into kernel), i dont use multi buffs. Its kinda debatable, but i am not sure if keeping the buffs is even a bug or maybe rather a feature. I am also not exploiting Draw! - its still great if you use as intended, esp with Avdanced Materals mags. And no, never noticed accuracy loss on the foam fingerer, but i usually dont do much with this char except double buffing.
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Edited/Updated for a 'final' build of the 4th ranger and information on the Rattler handgun + early steps guide at the end + some more info here and there. Might update it more in the future ...
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I'm glad to see ur builds and others u posted. ;)
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Rayman wrote: August 2nd, 2021, 11:59 am I'm glad to see ur builds and others u posted. ;)
You are welcome :)

Added some information about recovery and some other small additions.
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Updated to fix the corrupted sheets. Also added a few infos, incl. a TLDR as chapter 0.
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