Wasteland 2 Combat Tips and Strategy Guide

Wasteland 2 Combat Tips and strategy to survive the enemies in the post-apocalyptic World of the game.

Combat in Wasteland 2 is no joke, and it does have a rather steep learning curve. Those familiar with more classic RPGs and turn-based strategy games would have an easier time acquainting themselves with the combat system of Wasteland 2.

Those who are new to this retro-styled gameplay however might have a difficult time. This guide will cover the basics of Combat, both ranged and melee along with the important factors that need to be taken into account while fighting.

For more help on Wasteland 2, read our Character Attributes, Weapons and Armor and Companions Guide.

Wasteland 2 Combat Tips

Combat in Wasteland is separated from the game’s normal real-time mode by adding a turn-based strategy setup whenever you enter battle. During this system, you will have your characters move about and/or perform actions within their limited amount of Action Points. Each action costs AP, be it moving, attacking, reloading, or healing.

Action Points
Action Points will determine the limits of your movement and actions during a turn.

Each turn a Ranger will start off with a fresh number of Action Points. The AP value tends to vary and is heavily tied to your Attributes. The number of points remaining is indicated near the End Turn button.

The AP cost associated with non-movement actions such as skill usage and firing depends on the type of skill and weapon. Generally, heavier weapons and those with more power (sniper rifles, assault rifles) tend to have a high AP cost, whereas Handguns and Submachine Guns tend to have relatively lower costs.

AP Cost of Different Actions

  • Move —- (depends on Speed)
  • Melee Attack —- 3 AP
  • Fire pistol —- 3 AP
  • Fire SMG —- 4-6 AP
  • Fire assault rifle —- 5-6 AP
  • Fire shotgun —- 5 AP
  • Fire sniper rifle —- 6-7 AP
  • Fire heavy weapon —- 5-8 AP
  • Fire energy weapon —- 4 AP
  • Ambush —- Same as firing weapon
  • Reload —- Same as firing weapon
  • Skill Use —- 4 AP (depends on Speed)
  • Item Use —- 4 AP (depends on Speed)

The AP cost for movement is calculated via grids on the ground. By default, these grids are invisible, but can be turned on from the Gameplay Option menu. Each grid generally displays a 1 meter square. The amount of AP cost associated with each grid depends on different variables of the specific Ranger, such as speed, weight and other factors.

Once the entire AP of a specific Ranger is depleted, the turn for him/her will end and move on to another character. Who it moves on to depends on the different Initiative values – those with the highest Initiative tend to get turns more frequently and quicker than others.

Ambush is an option available to both ranged and melee combatants, and is a non-targeting method of assaulting enemy characters. To set a Ranger to Ambush mode, click on the Ambush button in the Combat HUD. This will make that ranger in a high alert mode.

While in this mode, the ranger will shoot any target that moves out of cover to change position. Ambush is non-directional, so the Ranger will target anyone within 360 degrees of their range.

Since Ambush is initiated right when an enemy comes within range, it is usually best to use highly accurate and precision weapons that do not suffer from damage fall off, such as snipers. Using heavy weapons or explosives for ambushing is not recommended, as it can cause friendly fire.

Melee characters can also use ambush, but it only tends to work well in close quarters. It’s actually a nice way to prevent enemies from closing in on your other players; just place a melee character close to the enemies behind some cover, turn on ambush, and let him/her attack anyone who comes near.

Status Effects
Rangers are (mostly) organic beings, and hence will suffer difference status effects that can disrupt their effectiveness in battle. There are a wide variety of status effects, and they can be caused through multiple ways.

Thankfully, status effects are never irreversible – they are either treated by a field medic or surgeon, or die away with time.

However, while they last they can really hurt your chances of winning a battle, so it is usually advisable to get rid of these effects as quickly as possible, or to simply avoid them at all costs. There are many causes of different status effects, ranging from simply losing too much CON to radiation fields, and beyond.

The following are the different status along with their effects:

  • Radiation Sickness — Causes damage, loss of Intelligence and Strength
  • Bleeding Out — Causes a steady loss of CON
  • Stunned — Decreases Speed and Awareness
  • Mending — Occurs when healed by a skilled surgeon, recovers CON
  • Fractured Fibula — Decreases Brute Force
  • Tetanus — Decreases Charisma and Coordination
  • Blood Loss — Decreases base MAXCON
  • Confusion — Decreases Awareness and Intelligence
  • Brain Damage — Occurs when coming seriously close to dying, decreases all Attributes
  • Arm Wound — Decreases all Combat Skills
  • Broken Bone — Decreases Coordination
  • Eye Wound — Decreases Awareness, Perception and attack range
  • Hand Wound — Decreases effectiveness at manual actions
  • Leg Wound — Decreases Speed
  • Head Wound — Decreases Intelligence

Ranged Combat

In this section we’re going to look at ranged combat. Though the wastes around you are blessed with many melee weapons to use, it’s not necessarily the ideal way to go about things, especially in the era of long-ranged snipers and energy guns. For this reason, it is highly probable that you will rely on ranged combat more than you would on melee in Wasteland 2.

One of the most important things you need to about is targeting. Yes, it sounds very basic, but there is actually little margin for error when you are targeting an enemy. When you move your mouse over an enemy during combat, the pointer will turn into a reticule, and you can simply left-click to shoot.

However, there are a few things to take into consideration before you actually press your mouse button. These considerations are detrimental to your chances of dealing damage to the target. The first and foremost important thing is to note whether you have a direct line of sight.

This is essentially a straight imaginary line you would draw from your Ranger till your target. If any obstacles are coming in between, or if the target is behind cover, there are high chances you will miss your shots. Note that friendly fire in this game exists, so any fellow ranger in your line of sight can get hit.

In order to get a proper line of sight, you will probably need to move about. However, this can expose you quite badly, so make sure you are at least behind cover or have guarantee that the target will be eliminated by your shots.

One of the things people easily tend to forget is to reload. Yes, reloading is a part of the game, and very important. If you left click on an enemy while your weapon mag is empty, your Ranger will simply reload. Reloading takes the same amount of AP as firing, so there is all likelihood you will be an exposed sitting duck with your AP depleted.

Speaking about AP, you also have to consider whether you have sufficient amounts to even attack in the first place. If you’ve moved about to get a clear line of sight, you may have just utilized a large part of your AP and won’t have enough available to shoot.

You should always calculate in your head before making a move. One last important thing about target is to consider whether the target is in your range or not – a red circle will indicate the max range of the character you have selected.

If you wish to target a specific area of the battle without any one enemy in mind, you can use the Fore Fire functionality. This will allow you to shoot anywhere you click, and can be mighty useful when you are attempting to deal Area of Effect damage to foes.

Chance to Hit
You may have a good line of sight and a steady aiming character, but it’s not necessary that every bullet meets the marker. The Chance to Hit is a percentage probability of a successful attack, and is rolled against with every attack made.

There are many factors that can affect your CtH, but the main one is your Ranger’s skill with his/her weapon. Rangers with good weapon experience and skill will have high CtH, though other factors can come into play so it may not be 100%.

The factors that affect your Chance to Hit are:

  • Range — A major factor. The farther away an enemy is, the lower the CtH.
  • Cover — If an enemy is behind cover, there is a lowered chance of you to successfully shoot it.
  • High Ground — Being on a higher ground greatly increases your CtH. Similarly, shooting a foe that is on higher ground decreases CtH. Try to gain higher ground with precision rangers like snipers.
  • Crouching — Crouching generally tends to reduce movement speed, but increases your CtH as it gives your Ranger weapon stability. It also costs 2 AP, but adds an importing 10% to CtH.
  • Status Effects — Different Status Effects can greatly decrease your CtH.
  • Nearby Enemies — Enemies standing near you or in front of you can make you less accurate. If you’re a sniper but an enemy is near your line of sight, it will often decrease your CtH.

Firing Modes
Most weapons have only one kind of firing mode, but there are certain limited firearms and guns that offer you multiple modes of fire. These modes are often single-shot and burst fire.

Single shots always use 1 fire, while burst can use 3 rounds, or 5 rounds, and in some cases even more. You can find out the amount of shots in different firing modes by hovering your mouse over the weapon in the Inventory or on the Weapon Display.

You can switch your firing mode with the Switch Fire Mode button on the Weapon Display. If that button is greyed out, it means your weapon does not have multiple firing modes. Another important thing to note is that generally Fire Modes with more shots take up more AP.

Each shot will have its own individual CtH, and generally shooting in higher bursts is less accurate than single-shots.

A neat little high-risk, high-reward option is the Headshot functionality that can be turned on and off by clicking the button with a shot skull in the Combat HUD.

You will gain a significant bonus to your Critical Hit Chance with this option on, but you will lose a large amount of CtH. You should only use Headshot when you have a very clear line of sight and are in an advantageous position (higher ground etc).

Melee Combat

While most of your fighting will be done in range, there is a high chance of you being in at least one scenario where you will have to rely on melee combat. Melee combat basics like AP and movement work in a similar way to ranged combat.

However, unlike Ranged combat, you don’t have to worry about ammo or reloading, making them the cheapest available method of killing. The huge disadvantage to melee combat though comes from having to get up close to enemies.

During that time you won’t be able to use cover effectively, and will leave your melee character in a very exposed position. For this reason, it is usually recommended to specialize in a mix of ranged and melee weapons and skills.

Relying too much on your ranged weapon can prove to be as dangerous as marching straight at an enemy behind cover to bludgeon them. Melee combat is best used against advancing enemies who are trying to close down space between them and your rangers.

You should have your rangers equipped with an emergency melee weapon and use it on the enemies closing in before they attack you. Melee attacks have very high CtH and blunt weapons generally tend to deal a lot of damage.

It is possible to be extremely lethal with a melee character, to the point where you could take out enemies with only a couple of swings. For this to happen though, you’ll need to invest plenty in melee, which may not be advisable on the long run.

While it’s not only melee characters that wear or have to deal with armor, it becomes an all-important factor, since as a character going head on to swing at an enemy, you’ll need all the protection you can get.

Enemies also tend to have armor, and both the values of your Ranger’s armor and that of the enemy is displayed on the Combat HUD, both in the mouse-over tooltip and in the Action Queue.

Armor values range from 0 to 10, and it comes in either Light or Heavy categories.

Light armor tends to have lesser protection, but allows additional mobility. This is ideal for snipers and assault rifleman. Heavy armor requires a certain amount of strength, offers lots of protection, but has a penalty on your Combat speed. Generally, shotgun users and melee characters tend to work best with heavy armor.

When you shoot an armored character (or when your armor character is shot), a part of the damage is absorb by the armor. You can equip and inspect the value of your armor in your Inventory.

While for humans armor primarily comes from equipment, certain animals and robots tend to have innately high armor values because of their hides or metal exteriors. For such cases, Armor Penetration can be a vital stat.

This value like Armor ranges from 1-10, and indicates how much of the Armor is ignored to apply damage directly to the target’s CON.

If your character’s Armor Penetration is lower than the value of the target’s Armor, the difference is subtracted from the damage done. This means that if you have no Armor Penetration and are shooting a robot, you will do no damage.

For Armor Penetration, try to use large caliber rounds, which are more costly but highly effective against armored enemies. Energy Weapons are unique in this sense as they have an inverse relation with armor – the more armor a target has, the larger the damage done. This can be highly useful against robotic foes.

If you have any queries regarding Wasteland 2’s combat, feel free to share in the comments section below!

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...