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Wasteland Lord Azlan's Adventures in Wasteland 2

Lord Azlan

Jun 4, 2014
I played Wasteland a very long time ago and thought it was the bees knees - something totally different at the time - on my personal all-time list, aka "Games that made me who I am" with Bards Tale and Ultima IV.

Fallout was heralded at the time as its spiritual successor - but it really wasn't. To tell you the truth for a long time I preferred Fallout 3 to its predecessors. Yep - I really did. Until June 2014 when I signed into the Codex forum and re-evaluated my priorities and began the path to enlightenment. I completed Fallout for the first time last year - more than 15 years after purchasing it. It's a good game.

Wasteland 2, nearly half a life-time in the making - my initial impressions.

It is not Fallout and that is very good.

Early on you get introduced to some of the characters from Wasteland and even some of those locations from a generation ago. There must be some chemical reaction going off in my brain where Highpool + Snake Vargas + Killer Bunnies = Nostalgia = chemical reaction. I am finding the whole experience soothing, stimulating, perplexing, arousing. Gentle foreplay.

For the first time for a long while - I play a RPG with a story where I can READ the text - I really appreciate it. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Reading, a skill and hobby lost since the console generation, X-factor, MTV generation - comes back for your pleasure. Part of the gentle gaming in Wasteland 2 comes from me slowly, and in my own time, exhausting a bunch of conversation options with a variety of characters. It's done really well. Some of it vocalised too. Lords of Xulima and Blackguards should learn something - make allowances for different size of text in your game - some gamers will really appreciate it and get more gentle oomph from it.

My experience so far has made me ponder a question, what sort of gamer am I? A re-loader? Completist? Min/ Maxer or go with the flow?

Early on I found a toaster - the skill to handle these is not necessary - a 'useless' skill. So I left it behind.

In another area I found some safes that require Safecracking - another skill my group did not have - so I left them.

I began to get frustrated. A reroll followed shortly. I must be a completist.

How essential is toaster repairs to the Wasteland experience. A better question would be how often do you need to think about your toaster repair skill in any game?

My new band of rangers will have a guy specialising in it.

How could anyone play this game and not try and repair every damn little toaster they find?

Instead of choosing 4 pre-made characters - I did a quick calculation and worked out how many skills I needed or wanted and divided by 4. Ditched Barter, Animal Whisperer, Outdoorsman and two of the weapon skills like SMG. I knew from Wasteland 1 it was a good option to have both melee and range weapons for EACH character.

Hold on for a minute - cowboy.

I soon realised after that why RPG like these are not made any more - why we had the long RPG vacuum. Everyone is a completist these days. We like to be the Dragon born, Archmage, Head of the fighters guild, thieves guild and dark brotherhood lot. We don't like games that tell us when we can't do something. We want to do everything at the same time and in the same play through. Sob - I belong to the MTV generation for goodness sake!

Choices and consequences. You won't be able to open every lock you find as a level one character ala Oblivion/ Skyrim. You just won't. Can you deal with that?

I read many of the Wasteland 2 threads and I get the criticism - it's all valid. Some of the problems must have been fixed with the patches. I don't mind having three different skills to open stuff or three different ways to influence people - is lock picking skill the same as being able to open a safe? Kiss Ass, Smart Ass or Hard Ass - I don't mind all that. I think it adds complexity to the game.

Using the radio to get field promotions. I just love it and get all emotional. Aren't a lot of levelling up in RPG games promotions in the field? How many other games have used this mechanic.

So far - the biggest issue I have with the game is about random encounters and how they all seem to exist in the same identical environment - would really like to have seen more variety here.

The game is okay so far and I am constantly thinking about what to do next. Can I just go out and explore the whole desert on my own?

I have high expectations and I know this will eventually doom my experience with Wasteland 2. Memories of old people always romanticise the past. I know I will hold this one to a high standard that I would not to anything else.

I left the AG Centre in the middle of a crisis to test the game - but also to level up and sell some loot. As I left, that bitch Kathy Lawson shouted "Don't you fucking rangers leave us - Matt Forrestal literally only has seconds to live - come back you bastards!"

Part of me was hoping I would find him dead when I got back - but there he was - still alive. Still alive with literally only seconds to live. I just wished he was dead. Does he die if you don't come back?

Still - Wasteland 2 is just this game you know - so far I am really enjoying it.


Matt dies depending if you choose to talk to him half way through and say you didnt find some shit or not. if you dont say anything he doesnt die.
But leaving the area and coming back later should make it default to the AG center destroyed state, with everyone dead but Kathy still there to give you the full exposition and a few jokes and laughs while some mutated vines are killing her.

You can only explore a part of the "wasteland" - until you fulfill idiotic convoluted prerequisites and only then you can explore more.

And all of that is repeated again in the second half. all over again.

Hope you like it a lot.


█▓▒░ ░▒▓█
Oct 14, 2012
2015 might be better. Still, 2014 alone was better than the decade before it.

Besides, where's you scathing Wasterland 2 review?
Dec 14, 2012
2015 might be better. Still, 2014 alone was better than the decade before it.

Well, I guess that's an interesting contrast to the usual "newfags get worse every year" theory.

I don't think Blaine is talking about games :lol:

Lord Azlan

Jun 4, 2014
So - I have moved on a bit now. Repairing toasters as I go.

During my gaming experience only one question remains unanswered - what to do with the condom I found and how exactly did it end up in a goat?

I never liked party games much unless they were in the first person, Bards Tale or M&M mould. I don't like to see these little guys move around the screen - trying their best not to get stuck. That is part of the reason I didn't complete any of the Baldur's Gate games, even Pools of Radiance had these *sigh* moments in combat. Let's not talk about Dragon Age.

Blackguards had pretty decent combat as did a recent X-Com game.

In Wasteland 2 I came across the Canyon of the Mad Monk - and crap hits the fan. It's even reinforced when I go through all that shit and stumbled across a band of cowboys eating beans and farting across my screen. In fact - the smell gets so bad you can still hear and smell it all the way across that region. I start talking to other people but can't hear anything they say and the text screen just keeps on rolling farts...

Interesting take on Mel Brooks' Blazzing Saddles.

The canyon is interesting as apart from the Mad Monks trying to safeguard the law - you have other factions hoping to prey on innocent bystanders. The rules are complex:

a) If you have a Mad Monk escort no one can attack you.
b) As above - but anyone actually can attack you if they really want to.
c) You can attack anyone that does not have a monk escort - unless you don't want to.
d) Mad Monk - aka "Suicide Bombers", set off a mini mushroom nuke killing everyone around them.
e) If you lose your escort in a battle - you no longer have an escort and can therefore be attacked by anyone in the canyon.

The canyon is very long and winds around all over the place. Every now and again you encounter a group of bandits with their own monk escort that say "Hands Up - money or your li....fuck - you have your own escort"

The combat is growing on me. Isometric. Always moving the bloody camera around to obtain best viewing angles. In some encounters the camera zooms out to 'satellite' view to show a 'tactical' image of the battleground. I like the way you can carry over some Action Points into the next round so on occasion you can get two shots off instead of one.

The weapon modding skills allows you to strip down a weapon to its keys parts. You can then add those to other weapons to reduce the chance to jam your weapon, increase range and chance to hit and do critical damage. My party members all have melee skills as well if they want to save ammo. Regards the guns I have a shotgun specialist, a sniper, a hand-gunner and an assault rifle.

The handgunner has been surprisingly effective - with a 3 AP requirement to fire their weapon - she gets 3 shots per round.

The sniper less so - but has proved valuable one-shotting tough enemies from a distance.

Opening stuff is getting a bit tedious. Often I spend more than 20 unspent skill points to level up Picklock, Alarm, Safecracking and Brute force. I then take on 10 crazy machine gun totting bandits, kick down six walls of concrete, disable a few alarms and expertly pick locks and crack a safe only to find some used toilet paper. The randomness of the game has some drawbacks.

I could do with the option to annotate maps. More variety in the random combat.

I have crossed swords with robots of the killer kind. I was interesting to see how the developers portrayed these.

This game is full of shit. It literally is.

There is shit everywhere and I reckon an enterprising hobo come business man from one of the Wasteland communities could rake in quite a few coins just moving shit around. Maybe in Wasteland 3.

Lord Azlan

Jun 4, 2014
I went about 50 hours before I had the chance to jump into a helicopter and Escape to LA. Still, even saying that, there were bits and pieces I could have experienced in Arizona. That is quite impressive. I really wanted to fully explore Mad Monk canyon after my choice was made - sigh - maybe on another play through.

Off to LA then and exploration in this part of the world does not require frequent visits to an oasis to top up your water bottle. Here is one thing I don't like about the game - why do you only need one Radiation Suit for the entire group? So, WL2, you are trying to make out you are smart, smarter than the rest - but that is stupid.

The limiting factor on your travels now is the high level of radiation - your existing suit won't cut it. So one of your key missions is to find cat litter - approx. 15 tonnes - so that new radiation suits can be forged. Again, as in Arizona, you have to fix a bunch of radio stations so your head office can spread its message of peace and tranquillity across the region - sounds oddly like what all the other groups are doing - very strange. A battle of ideologies?

A change. I play the game differently. I decide much of the stuff in the various containers is just stuff - so no more reloading. If I fail - that's how the cookie crumbles. I move from a completist to a role player - I leave stuff or try and critical fail - or succeed. It makes the gaming experience smoother.

One of my agonising choices is whether my tough ranger in the front wears a pendant that enhances his Luck or his Kick Ass skill.

I find a group of people in Angel Oracle obsessed with 'please' and 'thank you'. Their leader is called Mr Manners. He eats people once a month in a bizarre circumstance after the rudest person in town is sacrificed. Apparently it keeps everyone else on their toes. This town is so obsessed with good manners that even before I was allowed in I had to prove myself by taking a short quiz - do I wash my hands before or after eating?

In this town I find proof that eating your own kind makes you ill - its Bovine spongiform encephalopathy all over again - but without the cows. I save an innocent man from the chop and uncover a plot to overthrow the town leader. There is a cockroach infestation in the sewers that needs sorting plus you start a quest to produce perfect toast.

In this region - I like that there is more plot developments told via use of the radio. Every now and again you hear broadcasts from HQ or from other factions. No longer can I play this game with the football commentary on the side. It's all good.

I have a slight problem with Pick Ass, Kick Ass and Smelly Ass. I don't like the way they are a one-time only chance - take it or lose it - option. I think you should be able to come back and try those skills later on. I don't think the conversations with NPCs help the gamer understand when it would be appropriate to use these skills - for example in the dialogue or description of the user. Maybe I am missing something?

Final thoughts on the stories. I didn't like Baldur's Gate or its subsequent sequels. I tried my best on Planescape but could not read the text due to poor eyesight. Played KOTR a bit and loathed it. I really like WL2 - especially the different people you meet in your travels. The story seems compelling allowing me to turn off certain buttons in my brain that could ask awkward questions.

Every now and again my son watches me play and states the game seems very complicated.

WL2 is a step in the right direction - well done to the developers. Better than Blackguards and Lors of Xulima in my opinion.

Lord Azlan

Jun 4, 2014
Today I will focus on some of the less favourable aspects of this game - just to give some balance. So far I like this game so much I want to grab a condom and find a goat.


Text descriptions of the character you are talking to sometimes do not match their picture. Real fail and gameplay killer. Really pisses me off.

"You meet handsome young man with freckles with a hopeful expression. It seems the endless drudgery of war and strife has not yet chiselled away on his youthful features. He approaches you and tips his bright red cowboy hat in one smooth movement" - the picture is of an old woman.

This sort of stuff makes me mad. Happens quite a lot in California.

Robots - enemy AI.

My first Meson Cannon gave a crap my pants moment and I thought the Scorpitron 2.0 moment in Inglewood was a proper wtf.

Otherwise the AI bestiary is a bit naff - quite underwhelming.

Random Encounters

They get annoying but I have not succumbed to training anyone with Outdoorsman yet. Happily accept random encounters is part of the game.

Why Oh Why are the background environment for these encounters so similar (or the same). It's stupid. The combat may have well have been like the original Wasteland or Bards Tale then. Why not special loot or containers in 10% of these random encounters? Why not have something that can only be obtained in these places?


I know what Old Skool means. Did you know Ultima Underworld had the facility to annotate maps in 1992?

That is 1992 you morons. People who played Wasteland in 1988 are probably well in the 40s now - maybe have a life. Do I want to spend a high proportion of my gaming time of nearly 100 hours now in 2015 with the shitty map? No. Please sort for your next game. Old Skool don't mean Old Fool. I need a better map or annotate ability in your next game.

Back and Forth missions

This is just sloppy game design. I first came across this in the Rail nomad camp and it just pissed me off. I accept this game is JUST A GAME and gaming convention requires the gamer to go back and forth a bit - but really?

Person A tells you to tell person B
LOAD MAP + LOAD MAP + LOAD MAP + travel time
Person B tells you to tell person A
LOAD MAP + LOAD MAP + LOAD MAP + travel time
Person A tells you to tell person B
LOAD MAP + LOAD MAP + LOAD MAP + travel time
Person B tells you to tell person A

It is this sort of crap that makes me just want to KILL EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD. This is why shooters exist.

Combat - cover.

Using cover in combat. Your opponent only uses cover in 0.0001% of the time. Are they stupid? I think someone in the design team wanted to use cover more but then someone else who had actually played the game highlighted a little problem.

"The combat - it's shit. It's too samey. The random encounters already pissed of the play testers. If we introduce the use of cover it's just going piss them off any more. What can we do?"

Big light goes on over the head of Designer 2

"I know, just make every npc combatee run straight for the Rangers - that gives combat but does not waste any time"


I need them. I won't complain about the 200 different ways you can open something and therefore can't have one character only just to deal with opening stuff. I would like to have hot keys that is defined as char X using skill Y. Easy. Otherwise I might just want to KILL EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD AND BLOW EVERYTHING UP.

Lord Azlan

Jun 4, 2014

What do Duran Duran, toaster repairing and a post nuclear wasteland all have in common?

Around 1988 I played Wasteland 1 on a C64. It was a cross between Bards Tale 1 type combat with Ultima IV type world movement. It was one of the first games to include a persistent world. The manual asked you to create a copy of the game disks so that choices and consequences you experienced during the game were saved. If you suspected your entire party was going to be wiped out or a gaming catastrophe was imminent and tried pulling out the floppy – it failed.

You were prompted to read chapters of text from a booklet at key points in the game to further the storyline. Wasteland 1 was released in a world without many hard drives so computer memory was restricted. The story booklet also provided a form of copy protection. The developers included fake text to give cheaters a hard time and prevent players from reading ahead and discovering the plot.

Time passes and its now 2015. It fascinates me that I have read reviews about Wasteland 2 from RPG “experts” who were not even alive in 1988. It’s been a long time. Reading these thoughts from youngsters about a sequel to a game they have never played was slightly interesting and mostly offensive. Saying that, I know nostalgia can be a powerful thing. I am glad that the passage of time has faded my memory. Some days I believe any old game released in the 1985-1995 period was a great game as there wasn’t many around. Or more accurately I could not afford that many – heck I was in school. Just look at me now with Steam or GOG – I don’t even have to leave my mother’s basement :)

WL2 is set in Arizona after a nuclear event destroyed much of civilisation. It is a RPG where you can control a party of four rookie desert rangers that have been asked to investigate the murder of a veteran named Ace. As your progress through the game you can recruit NPCs that join your party who bring along their own skillsets. Lacking a medic in your party? Recruit a Doctor. 15 long years have passed since WL1.

Character design

When you begin a new game you can create a party from scratch or import and amend existing rangers. In an attempt to show traditional RPG credentials – the developers have given each character seven attributes using the CLASSIC method (never heard of it either – hardly classic). These include Strength, Intelligence and Awareness.

Interestingly Luck and Charisma also appear. These two seem to be a throwback to D&D and live gaming with a Dungeon Master. Developers seem to struggle finding a real use for them and most players will therefore roll a low score in these to obtain higher scores in Strength, Endurance etc. I would have preferred a more balanced approach regards the attributes so that they were all equally important depending on the build or concept for that character.

It’s almost become fact now that Intelligence is the most important attribute in WL2 as that determines the ability to learn skills. Pretty soon it becomes apparent that unlike many RPGs your attributes do not always link with or enhance your skills. For example a character with 1 ST can be highly skilled and effective in a skill called Brute Force. This disparity is not quite fatal but a poor show nevertheless.

The skillset of your characters are the key factor in determining on whether you will be successful – at anything. The skills are divided into three groups, general, weapon and knowledge and each has ten levels of expertise. There are far too many for any one character or party of four to excel at everything. You need a plan.

If you want to recruit other party members beyond your base four – learn the Leadership skill as that improves their combat abilities and keeps them in check.

If you prefer to shoot first and chat later – you may want to ditch the three conversation skills.

Over my 100 hours of game time – I found that levelling is quite generous and any reasonable INT team member would gain sufficient skill points over the game. I also found that combat skills and ‘how to open stuff’ skills were used 95% of the time.

Skills such as Animal Whisperer, Alarm Disarming and Surgeon were hardly required. The Toaster Repair skill just seemed to be included without much thought and relied heavily on pre-game knowledge. For example, if you fixed a toaster in day 5 of gaming and subsequently acquired an item, that same item would only be of value if you happen to have it in your inventory on day 55. Items from toasters are not marked as quest items. Poor show.

Game Engine

The game engine has a two-fold approach. Movement across the world map is a 2D affair – think Indiana Jones in his airplane. 95% of the game is top down, 2.5D isometric movement with a camera that can zoom out and turn left or right. Graphics were sufficient and I cannot remember any bugs or glitches. Sometimes the game would slow down a trifle in heavy combat or densely populated areas.

The local map representation of towns and places you visit is just diabolical. I struggled to find any use for it apart from seeing where your party is in relation to your entry point. For some reason the developers camouflaged the entries/exits to buildings and other locations on the local map so it takes the gamer about 50 hours to even realise they are there. Not fantastic. I thought we were going back to Wasteland of 1987 – not some crappy game from 1957. Ask the developers when Ultima Underworld was released – for goodness sake!


As in many RPG, combat is the crux of WL2. Anyone that has played X-Com Enemy Unknown or Blackguards in recent times will appreciate it.

Combat is turn-based top down affair where Action Points determine what your characters can do and your Initiative rating determines their order in the queue. Your skills determine the chance to be successful. Throughout the game all my characters had an initiative of 10+ and no one ever went first. Rubbish.

Action points are required to reload ammo, use a weapon, to move etc.

Considering you spend a lot of game time in combat – it could have been much worse. Most enemies run straight towards you despite the game being patched a few times. Enemies rarely used cover. It’s lucky the post-apocalyptic radiation levels drained all logic and intelligence from your opponents.

Your skills will determine the chance to hit and to cause critical damage. Unlike other players – I did not come across weapons jamming many times in a row. There is a weapon Smithing skill that allows you to create weapon mods that reduce the chance to jam to zero.

I found there was ‘some’ strategy in combat. Sometimes it was beneficial for the party to be close knit and bunched together and sometimes better to move them apart. The use of melee weapons conserved ammo and I had to train up one of my team to use energy weapons once robotic enemies came onto the scene. On harder battles I had one character use his whole turn healing others. The Brawling skill gave enormous critical damage but then was useless against robotic opponents.

I liked the way the developers tried to incorporate the phrase “Your enemy explodes like a blood sausage” (a phrase from Wasteland 1) into the combat graphics. I would have found interesting the capability to zoom in even closer in battle. Although I am told there is no love for stealthy types in the game, I did wonder towards the end whether the Suppressor weapon mod (-90 noise radius and +5% critical hit chance) equipped to a party with long range weapons would allow a party to pick off a whole enemy gang from way off – answers on a postcard please.

Overall I found the combat more enjoyable than X-com but not quite up to Blackguards standards. Random encounters mainly occurred when travelling on the World Map and they were a great source of XP and items. However as many players have noted they all sort of happen in the same environment making it very predictable, slash that, BORING.


There is a lot of ‘junk’ you can collect in your travels and sell for petty cash. You can find pigeon poop or cow dung that can also be sold. Mid-game and towards the end I had gathered a ridiculous amount of cash in my pockets. I thought there was a lack of diversity amongst weapons and armour.

The Weaponsmithing skill allowed you to destroy a weapon and create a modification. There could then enhance other weapons so they were less likely to jam, increase range and lengthen something called falloff. Not heard that since my Eve Online days.

If you like carrying stuff around remember to ensure your team have adequate Strength. This becomes crucial if you would like to explore the Toaster Repair skill where all sorts of things spring out afterwards and you have NO IDEA what to do with them.

On weapons, one or two times I had to balance the equation between higher damage or less hits per turn. Otherwise, depending on your weapon skill there seemed to be a straight forward hierarchy when deciding what to use.

Armour and clothing was completely lacking. There was no opportunity to modify these and I feel with more time or better resources these would have been at least up to par with weapons.

Factions and storyline

It’s a mixed bag. I think the biggest problem was that the environment or PC graphics could not do justice to the rich storytelling. A big disappointment was Hollywood. What a dump. Not unlike a couple of metal sheds in the back of the barn, out in the sticks, in the desert – very poor. Often the same portrait was used for different characters you meet. Sometimes they did not match their description. This was a huge fail but I was able to make my way through the game with an eye closed.

As someone who normally loathes “storytelling” and “reading” via reams of text on screen I was really surprised how accessible and compelling some of this text actually was. All this is particularly enhanced by sound. Distant radio chatter was interesting for once. Excellent voice acting was in abundance.

The first faction I found interesting were the side branch of the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud, MAD fucking monks. These lunatics try to enforce peace in a key piece of land in the Wasteland by blowing themselves and everyone around them if you break the rules. It’s a complete failure as when you travel through the region destruction and death is everywhere.

In Angle Oracle I came across a faction known as Mannerites that promote good manners. Every month the Mannerite with the most infractions is sacrificed and eaten. One of the missions you might want to take up involves obtaining meat from an alternative source.

However, for every interesting faction and location there is an opposite. Many of the places you visit just seem under developed – as in the developers should have spent more time on the graphics and storyline. I don’t give a shit if it’s set in a nuclear wasteland – some places are just shoddy.


There are a lot of things wrong with this game. I would really like to know if players spent more time on opening things or in the dialogue system. I would like to know why in the Rail Nomad area I had to criss-cross the various maps about 100 times.

I want to know why the local map is crap.

Looking back to all the press about it, I wonder about the ‘choice’ you are given at the beginning of the game and why so many journalists sang its praises from high.

I couldn’t remember which items emerged from toasters.

Then I met Simon Le Bon in a random encounter that was Hungry Like a Wolf and then Frankie told me to Relax. Then my heart just melted away and this somewhat not that bad game became something special.

I really enjoyed storytelling for once even though some of it was boring and mundane.

I really enjoyed building up my team of four and wanted them to do well. I watched over them, groomed them and bent them to my will. I was proud each time the radio sent me a message back promoting them in the field of operations.

I spent 100 hours on this game to completion and the only reason I didn’t do another playthrough was because I have some urgent business working through a list of 71 other decent games.

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