Saturday, 17 March 2012

Wasteland: Metagame shame in the Waste

Before I forget, it seems that Wasteland 2 is apparently going to be made at last.  I assume, despite what Faran Brygo would have us believe, it's not going to run on IBM-AT.  They're taking donations via Kickstarter, so if you're the betting kind and have disposable cash, you could always be generous for some kind of mention in the game.  It's mostly over, of course, but still worth a look if that's your thing.

On to the original again.  So one thing I've remembered about soloing party-designed games, since I haven't done it in a long time, is just how hard it can be.  In the long run, I find I'm usually more powerful than a party could ever be.  However, since I'm of pretty mediocre skill, and only really succeed due to sheer bloody-mindedness, I tend to struggle in the early game.  So what ends up happening is that I tend to attack the game at various angles, desperately trying to find some way "in", until I finally find an area or means of attack that is effective.  Of course, once that happens, it is probably going to be smooth sailing from there.

So it was the case here, as well.  Since setting out, I entered the peaceful and tranquil setting of Highpool.  Before the war, it was a camp for school kids.  After the war, it's become probably the only lovely place in the Wasteland, with it's pool, small creek and lush surroundings.  Perhaps the only downside to the place are all the damn kids.

There are not many in the wasteland who can claim to have seen moss.

Sure, kids are nice, as long as they stay off your damned lawn.  But there's just something creepy about these damned kids.  It's almost like someone, or something is watching over them.  They're too brazen for helpless brats who should know better than to laugh at someone carrying a big axe.

Notice the icon of the children standing on the grass there: any time you see that, it means you can enter combat with them.
Alas, I was too weak on entering Highpool to deal with any of the issues there, and most of them revolve around destroying somebody's life in any event.  There is a nice little stash to be found in the pump room, under the bed.  Interesting thing here: if your lead character possesses the Perception skill, you'll find one stash, including your first piece of armour.  If not, you'll find a different, inferior stash, whose contents I can't recall.  The pump itself requires fixing, but I lack the equipment to deal with this now.  I'll discuss Highpool further, when I return to fix the pump.

In the meantime, I wandered out, looking for an angle to improve my combat abilities.  One more than one occasion, I was faced with the all too familiar screen:

Nicely animated in the game, with ants, spiders and grubs making their homes in my skull.
Sooner or later, though, I managed to secure enough funding through petty theft to afford an "ax", and a bullet proof shirt.  Normally in games, I try not to resort to thieving, but in this case, you don't get any cash or items from random encounters, and defeating enough set encounters to equip yourself early in the game usually is too difficult unless you've already stolen a bunch of things from people.

After that, I resorted to some meta-gaming, heading up to Darwin Village, where the Black Market admits anyone who knows the password of "Cretian" (is that supposed to be a hybrid of Cretin or Cretan?), where I purchased a Kevlar suit.  This will be my armour for quite some time to come.  For the time being, the game has become far too easy, and I'm not sure I'm happy about that.  However, I have to admit to myself that, given my rather meagre spare time, I'd probably be too frustrated if I attempted to stick to the Bullet proof shirt.  So for my own sanity and will to continue, I'll just have to deal with the minor annoyance of this.

Also, I've managed a few promotions.  I forgot to screenshot the first of these proud moments, but you can see here my CO back at base, dutifully saluting me over the radio as I recieve my second promotion to Specialist.

I can't even see you, just pretend you're saluting, ok?
 If you're curious as to what sort of rank structure the Desert Rangers use, you can find it here.  I don't know much about the military, but even I find that odd.  In the game, your actual level and experience are hidden from you, so you only know your rank.  Furthermore, the ranks and levels are never documented in the game or it's manuals, so without the internet, you'd never know just how it works.

That's enough for now.  Now that the metagaming is done, I'll be able to move on to the actual contents of the game next time, including how the residents of the wastes feed themselves, and just how horrifying that is.


  1. Wow this takes me back. I remember playing this on the Apple IIe back in the day.

  2. Just had a look at the Apple IIe version, and was struck by just how muted the colours are, compared to the PC version. I wonder if that helped the mood better than the rather extreme PC colours did.