The Kindness Of Rangers: Wasteland 2

I read all of the Wasteland 2 updates and spend a good five minutes afterwards collecting my belongings and disembarking from the hype train. It’s a dangerous vehicle and the rails that it rides take it to the scorched terrain of Disappointment’s Desert, wherein lie the ruins of the mighty citadel, Grand Expectations. The Wasteland 2 team are making all the right noises and then transcribing those noises and sharing them on the internet. The latest news coming from the inXile camp comes from the splendidly named Montgomery Markland and contains information about the Wasteland 1 re-release as well as plenty of details about survival and exploration in the sequel. But that’s not the best of it – there is a header that reads “Dying of Murder”.

The full post is available to read whether you’re a backer or not so do take a look when you’ve absorbed the selected highlights below. Let’s start with “dying of murder”:

Our random encounter system will throw a wide variety of dangerous animals, mutants, raiders and robots at you. Encounter chances are based on an overall percentage depending on terrain type and the general level of danger in the zone you are travelling.

Certain parts of The Wasteland are populated by particularly dangerous enemies. You are more likely to trigger high-level encounters while travelling in those areas. We do not conduct any form of level scaling in this regard; so if you wander off the beaten path you better be ready for a tough fight.

There is a reason for the phrase “dying of murder”. The header follows details of other ways to die in the wasteland, namely ‘of dehydration’ and ‘of radiation poisoning’. Both of these terrible fates are linked to your party’s wanderings, with some terrain types causing water to be consumed more quickly and some areas clouded with deadly radiation. Here are some details about water management, which I inexplicably find more interesting than radiation.

You will find water at hidden oases throughout the region. Oases are discovered as you travel the 3D map; you will discover them from greater distances with a higher Outdoorsman skill. Like settlements and sites, oases will reveal themselves in the 3D world map as they are scouted.

Other water sources are also available throughout the game, inside of major locations, such as Ranger Citadel and Highpool. These in-level water sources are automatically accessible if the level is a friendly location. Water sources in neutral or hostile locations generally require a mission or task to unlock. Once such a water source is available, it is always free.

The Wasteland 1 release will be contaminating GOG and Steam in the near future, as well as being delivered free to all backers. It’ll include a new Mark Morgan track as well as optional uprezzed portraits.

Oh, and the beta for Wasteland 2 is very close. After a series of offputting early access experiences in recent times, I’m tempted to implement a Finished Games Only Policy for my own personal enjoyment but I don’t think any games are ever finished anymore. I’m definitely waiting for Wasteland 2 to be out of beta before I play it though, unless the rest of the RPS gents force me to write hands-on previews so they can preserve the full experience for themselves.

Right. Pack up. The hype train does not depart from this station.


  1. Jericho says:

    Reading about Wasteland 2 progress fills me with a certain anxious energy that makes it incredibly difficult to sit still in my desk chair.


    Blast! Time for a post-Wasteland 2-news trot about the office. I’ll assume that anyone else rising from their desks this morning will be doing so for the same reason.

    That, or hemorrhoids…

    • Rincewind says:

      I’m with you here. Of all the games I’ve backed, this is the one I am looking forward to the most. Followed in order by Republique, Torment, Project Eternity, At the Gates, Star Citizen, and finally, the Dead Linger.

      • Jericho says:

        It doesn’t hurt that Wasteland 2 has been rather brisk with their progress updates. The only other games I’ve backed on Kickstarter are the Double Fine Adventure, Project Eternity, and Jagged Alliance Flashback, and of those, only WL2 and DFA seem to show marked progress whenever they put out an update. I mean, Project Eternity is technically progressing just as much, but they’ve had to spend a lot of time hammering out the basic mechanics of their game, and after seeing Space Hulk in action, I’m not so confident about JA:F anymore.

        Especially when all I really wanted from a Jagged Alliance reboot was the JA2 1.13 patch’s mechanics ported into Silent Storm’s engine. I mean, come on, that would just be too cool fer skool, as is said… I think… by, uhm, people..

        • MercurialAlchemist says:

          Grim Dawn just entered closed beta, and the alpha build I played was pretty playable, so clearly, this does not apply to every game.

  2. MuscleHorse says:

    Absolutely with you on the finished/almost finished games policy. Feel horribly burned out from games like War for the Underworld (Overworld?) and Starforge, which were little more than tech demos when I purchased them. It’s for this reason I’m holding off on the marvelous looking Sir (don’t hit me).

    This looks wonderful but I’ll be holding off until it’s finished.

    • Rincewind says:

      My latest attempt at trying out an early access game was The Dead Linger, which I played for all of five minutes before quitting, after graphical problems, wonky gameplay, stuttering, and other weird errors. That experience totally soured me on ever going for early access on any game not called Minecraft or Kerbal Space Program (okay, I’ll accept other years-in-the-making games like those).

      I especially don’t understand the desire to play beta for a story-based game like Wasteland 2. I want my first time through a story to be as flawless as possible. Playing an unfinished story-based game feels like picking up a book that has major printing errors in it and is still being edited by the author, rather than waiting for the properly printed final edition. Unless you’re the book’s editor or being paid to copy-edit it, why would you subject yourself to that? It’ll ruin the final version.

      • Premium User Badge

        Adam Smith says:

        Some games are better suited to early release. The majority of roguelikes I’ve enjoyed over the years have been in a state of flux and woe betide the poor chap who waits for Dwarf Fortress to be finished before indulging. I’m not contractually obliged to say this, but Sir has pleased me since day one and I don’t feel I’m missing out on the impact by playing without some content because of the procedural nature of the whole thing – and the fact that it’s essentially a collection of shortish survival stories.

        Prison Architect, Cannon Brawl and Nuclear Throne have a decent approach as well. Definitely play Cannon Brawl!

        • Rincewind says:

          That’s fair, I shouldn’t write off the entire concept of early access. You’re right about the Roguelike genre and a few other genres (such as strategy), which are designed to be played repeatedly over and over again. In those, early access can simply mean a less fully-featured experience, not a worse experience. I played the heck out of Binding of Isaac, and while a lot of features were added on, the later features certainly didn’t diminish my earlier enjoyment. I could even argue that I had more fun in early Minecraft because of the simplicity of the experience, and that the later content made it so overwhelmingly complicated that the simply joy of stacking blocks on top of blocks was diminished as a result.

          That said, the recent RPS article about Doublefine’s new space Dwarf Fortress reflected a lot of my personal concerns with early access, and the argument that players might simply abandon the game before it ever reaches a complete state tends resonates with my experience. I also stand by my statement regarding early access to plot-based games.

        • Pippy says:

          On the other hand woe betide all who enter Dwarf Fortress and the impossible hell of its UI

          • SavageTech says:

            I prefer to think of it as just an “Interface” because clearly it was not designed with any “User” in mind.

  3. PopeRatzo says:

    Q4 2014.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    I think the most exciting thing about the Wasteland 1 re-release they were talking about when I read this was inlining all the “now read paragraph N from the manual” bits, which were a bit of a killer faff when trying to poke an Abandonware copy of it. (Sure, there were dodgy scans, but it still wrecks the flow.)

  5. Llewyn says:

    You’re on quite a roll with the titles today, Adam!

    Edit: In tribute to Montgomery Markland I nominate that Mark Morgan should be renamed Morgan Markland.

    This can also be applied to any other Marks, such as the distinguished Manx cyclist Cavendish Markland, television presenter Lamarr Markland and former Hulk Ruffalo Markland.

  6. Drake Sigar says:

    Looks like those survival skills will actually be useful.

  7. Keyrock says:

    Unfortunately for me, I’m already hopelessly on the hype train. I tried to get off, but they have me chained to my bunk.

  8. Infinitron says:

    Monty Markland used to work at Obsidian Entertainment, and before that he was in charge of the vaporware “Purgatorio” module for Neverwinter Nights 2: link to (which I assume is what got him hired)

    • Jockie says:

      Knew I recognised the name, I followed the progress of Purgatorio for bloody ages.

  9. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Post-apocalyptic scenarios always end up with all men wearing beards. Sounds like a utopia to me.

    • Horg says:

      It’s when you encounter the women wearing beards that you realise Utopia is marred by a pall of radiation haze.

      • Rincewind says:

        Or the dwarves have moved into town.

        • DrScuttles says:

          Or psychic dogs and weird underground havens of forced Americana with forced breeding programmes.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        when you encounter the women wearing beards

        There is no bikini wax in the Wasteland.

  10. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Never played the original, but this is sounding a lot like Fallout 2.5. Colour me interested

    • DigitalParadox says:

      Well for all intents and purposes Fallout was basically Wasteland 1.5, so it makes sense for the series to be very similar. I’d wager that more people backed Wasteland 2 because of fond memories of the original Fallout games rather than memories of Wasteland itself.

    • airmikee99 says:

      Since Wasteland came out a long time before Fallout was even just a simple idea in the corner of someone’s eye, you’ve got it backward. Fallout is the spiritual successor of Wasteland, in fact, one of Fallout’s working titles was GURPS:Wasteland.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Cheers for the info chaps. Forgot I have FO1 and 2 in my steam account. Am downloading “1” now, plus the FIXT mod. Is it worth getting WL1? It looks like old amiga games

      • Lemming says:

        No, wait until they re release it if you’re curious (they are doing so on Steam with higher quality artwork and retooling it to work on modern computers).

  11. Enkinan says:

    I just hope the WL1 release happens before or at the same time as the WL2 beta so I can have something to help cull the urge to play the beta.

  12. varangian says:

    >We do not conduct any form of level scaling

    That’s the kind of thing I find encouraging. Games where every opponent has been carefully calibrated to be beatable (except for bosses who’ve been carefully calibrated to make you punch the screen) remove any sense of risk from things. Sometimes it’s fun to have your head handed to you on a plate.

  13. DrScuttles says:

    The volume of updates for Wasteland 2 is really great, but along with Project Eternity they seem so frequent that I get the emails, make a mental note to check them, never get round to it, then there’s another email and the cycle begins anew.
    But it’s far better to be inundated with progress reports than not. It’s a useful form of laziness/apathy to avoid getting to hyped.

  14. karthink says:

    Everything about Wasteland 2 looks and sounds exciting, except for the combat in the demos they’ve shown. It’s a strange thing. It’s my own mistake for expecting something as good as Jagged Alliance 2’s combat, and even stranger when I consider that I actually enjoy JA2’s combat mostly vicariously through other players’ accounts of their exploits, and not through my own doomed attempts at finishing that game.

    And then updates like this remind me that Wasteland 2 promises to be one of the deepest cRPGs made this century, and I push concerns about the combat to the side. Still, they linger.

    • khomotso says:

      And this is a reason for playing the beta.

      I think I’ll play the beta just for the early stages, the chapter 1 demo experience if you will, just to get a sense of how combat is working out. Then barrage them with constructive feedback on how to unfuck it.

      Play beta or enjoy the finished story? You can have your cake and eat it.

    • Jericho says:

      Considering just how well JA2 knocked it out of the park when it comes to turn-based tactical combat, I’m surprised how little was actually copied from them when it comes to later games (in the genre). I guess the only downside to their system was that on difficulties higher than “normal” the game was generally difficult enough that you couldn’t get away with doing “fun but dumb” action-movie stuff like equipping people with akimbo pistols or melee weapons. I mean, I’ve seen videos of people purposefully playing through the game and handicapping themselves by using poor mercs/equipment/etc, and it’s certainly possible to beat the game; but it’s incredibly tedious.

      • alseT says:

        Could you link one of these videos? Because I’m really interested.

  15. HunterZ says:

    Backed this as a Fallout fanboy (of the originals and the new ones) and have been looking forward to it. Never quite got into Wasteland 1, but I’m ecstatic to hear that they are updating it *and* giving it to backers as a free bonus.

    One of the awesome tidbits about the updated Wasteland 1 release is that they will be putting all of the text into the game. I never liked that the game would periodically say “read paragraph X from the manual” due to space limitations because it broke the immersion. The addition of audio will be a big deal too, even if it’s just a song or two; someone mentioned on YouTube that playing Fallout 1 & 2’s soundtrack while playing Wasteland 1 really pumps up the atmosphere of the game.

    This is the third and final Kickstarter game that I backed, with the other two being FTL: Faster Than Light and Shadowrun Returns. Both have those have been worth the money for their own reasons, and I have high hopes for Wasteland as well. I kind of wished I backed their Torment project, but Planescape is still on my to-do list so I think I can afford to wait.

  16. says:

    Oh man, oh man, oh man… Fallout 2, how I sorely sorely missed you!
    This game is turning to be more Fallout, more my personal fantasy how the next Fallout should be than.. well.. Fallout series..