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Wasteland 2 has been released to great acclaim, earning Game of the Year from PCWorld, and reaching #1 on the Steam sales charts. Now, the Director's Cut comes as a free PC update to all backers as our thanks for making the game happen!
Wasteland 2 has been released to great acclaim, earning Game of the Year from PCWorld, and reaching #1 on the Steam sales charts. Now, the Director's Cut comes as a free PC update to all backers as our thanks for making the game happen!
61,290 backers pledged $2,933,252 to help bring this project to life.

Are your survival skills honed?

Posted by inXile entertainment (Creator)

As time flies past us, we're continuing to make great progress. We set a goal of having all paper design completed by the end of October and we’re pretty darn close to that. Last month, we flew in many of the outside writers and designers for a 4-day table read. It was an amazing process and allowed us to really get in sync on the overall flow of the game. Each level had some takeaway notes and modifications, but overall, we are very happy with the progress we've made. You will be happy to hear that we reviewed the vision document again at that meeting, and we are right on course with delivering what we intended. 

On Friday of next week (December 14th), we will kick off Ask a Dev Week on our forums. Starting on the following Monday, our team will check out the posts and answer some of the top questions each day. We will have our internal team available and some of the outside writers and designers to answer questions. It couldn't be a better time as we are now comfortable with our attribute and skills list. So without further ado…

Attributes and Skills Breakdown

One of our favorite elements from the original Wasteland was the vast number of skills available to your party. By carefully selecting your skill breakdown for each character, you could create a bad-ass party of Rangers who were able to solve puzzles or challenges in multiple ways. We knew this was going to be a focal point for Wasteland 2. The following is an overview of our current thoughts on the attributes and skills system in Wasteland 2.

First, here is the list of attributes you can expect to find in Wasteland 2. Attributes are the starting values for your character traits. These are established when you create your character and can be different for each member of your party. Attributes are all passive, meaning that they won't be actively used in the world to solve issues.

  • Strength
  • Perception
  • Luck
  • Intelligence
  • Charisma
  • Expertise
  • Speed
You might immediately spot a few differences between this list and the original Wasteland. Perception has been turned into an attribute. We felt that perception tied into many other skills and played such an important role that it earned its position as an attribute. Also, there is this weird skill called Expertise on the list. Where the hell did that come from? Expertise is essentially agility and dexterity combined together into one package. We have defined it as the level of mastery of motions with your body and hands.

The following is the list of skills that can be used by the various party members.

When we began designing the skills, we started with the systems in Wasteland 1. We immediately removed any skills that we didn't feel were going to be represented well in the level designs. Each skill had to be something that was going to be used throughout the game. All skills that remained would need to be designed into multiple areas to make the cut. This in no way implies that all skills are used equally. Some skills are used in rare circumstances in Wasteland 2 and finding these uses brings an appropriate reward.

Each starting skill has a formula that is derived from up to 3 attributes based on what would be necessary to be proficient in that skill. So initially, where you place your attribute points will determine the starting value of that skill. A character’s skills can be increased by leveling up, using that skill, and through specific items equipped on the character. For example, our current formula for Pick Lock is [10 + (1*Perception) + (2*Expertise)]. Depending on your starting attributes, your initial skill in Pick Lock can vary greatly.

In order to make something happen in the world, you will need to use the proper skill. Wasteland 1 allowed players to use strength and perception. We wanted to keep this functionality so we created skills for these; Brute Force and Examine. In future updates, we will go into more detail on many of these skills.

You will need to make tough decisions on where to spend your precious skill points as you trek through the Wasteland. There is no single "best" strategy as it depends on your play style. Some skills you might want only one character to focus on, while other skills might be better to have on multiple characters. We are committed to making a heavily replayable game so you can be sure that experimentation with different strategies will yield interesting results.

And to close out the update, here is a sweet little portrait to whet your appetite. I'd like to introduce you to one of the Wasteland raiders, a nasty resident of Los Angeles.

Chris Keenan - Designer/Producer


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    1. Michael Bower on

      @Volcris, well for one it doesn't spell S.P.E.C.I.A.L, and second these stats have been used since the beginning of RPG time, lastly Wasteland came before Fallout.

    2. Missing avatar

      Volcris on

      Something about those attributes makes me think the game will turn out quite S.P.E.C.I.A.L., I wonder where the designers got the idea from? :P.

    3. Missing avatar

      quin on

      good point Linus!

      Expertise -> Kinetics (that's the point if this stat, right?)
      Luck -> Karma.
      Perception -> Awareness.

    4. Will Herrmann on

      Perhaps changing "Doctor" to "Surgery" would be good, as it more clearly separates the different ways that would be used. You only use surgery on an operating table, you only use field medic on, well, the field.

    5. Thomas Beekers

      For those unhappy with SPLICES and Expertise, inXile listened and is open to changing it to the community-suggested CLASSIC. Read more here:…

    6. Aven-Fawn mursNine on

      I think keeping Field Medic and Doctor separated is a good design.

      Field Medic is somebody who can quickly (and efficiently), stabilize a injury, stop the bleeding, patch up a bullet hole,split a broken leg; but can't necessary "heal" you back to full health.

      A Doctor isn't good at the immediate damage control (nor as resourceful as a Field Medic under fire/out in the field), but has the medicine/tool to fully heal a person back to full health given a few days.

    7. Charles E Miller

      Wow looks amazing. Luck is a great attribute was important in Tunnels&Trolls, MERCENARIES, SPIES & PRIVATE EYES which wasteland was based on. I just hope there is a pen&paper rpg version that follows by Ken St. Andre and/or Michael Stackpole.

    8. Missing avatar

      Steve(121234) Campbell on

      i really don't like seeing Luck in an attribute list, it never pays to level it and i feel like it removes some mystery...

    9. Martin Kramer on

      Oh good Lord, Linus Enriquez is so right. Also, Kinetics is much more in tune with the skill than "Expertise", which sound heavily like some mental skill.

    10. Missing avatar

      Joshua Morris on

      I wasnt going to comment, but you guys should REALLY take Linus Enriquez's comment to heart. I know it will be lost in translation, as shh says but still, its a kickass idea.

    11. Missing avatar

      shh on

      1. Please merge "Field Medic" and "Doctor" to one skill! Or just drop "Field Medic".

      2. Having a kickass acronym like KICKASS or SPLICES isn't important btw.
      After translating in to all the proposed languages the acronym is lost anyway.

    12. Missing avatar

      fijam on

      Jonathan Bagelman about 22 hours ago

      If Expertise encompasses both Dexterity and Agility, what about the Speed stat? I'd think that would represent Agility.

      This is an excellent point. I do not understand this choice at all.

    13. Justin Grissom on

      The My Little Kitty Raider looks rather intimidating.

      Excellent update, too! :)

    14. Missing avatar

      Uffe Kristensen on

      Will there be a rope? I loved the rope.

    15. Chris Meichtry on

      Worrying about attribute names or an acronym is dumb. But if there was no Toaster Repair, I was going to take back my pledge.

    16. Lazureus on

      @Linus.. I like that one a lot.

    17. Missing avatar

      Linus Enriquez on

      "SPLICES is a pretty crappy acronym imo".

      Yeah. Here's my alternative.

      Expertise -> Kinetics (that's the point if this stat, right?)
      Luck -> Karma.
      Perception -> Awareness.


    18. Missing avatar

      Azazel on

      Don't tell me it took 8 months to rename SPECIAL

    19. Missing avatar

      Lucius on

      SPLICES is a pretty crappy acronym imo. Couldn't ya'll do better than that??? I know how about no acronym and we stop trying to be like Fallout

    20. Missing avatar

      Linus Enriquez on

      Seeing as it's likely that attributes are not usable, I hope Brute Force and Examine are default skills that all characters get (along with other skills that serve as attribute analogs). I'm fine with that.

    21. Derrill Guilbert on

      That's a great picture, but I gotta say the guy looks like he's leveling through Hellfire Peninsula ;)

      (giant WoW nerd, sorry)

    22. b0rsuk on

      Sounds okay, but it will be very important to implement the idea well.

    23. T.J. Brumfield on

      I think you will have a party of 4 rangers you create, and the ability to hire on 2 more pre-made companions in game as well. So you get to spread the skills across six characters in theory.

    24. Missing avatar

      Linus Enriquez on

      "So many skills...I'm going to be in trouble"

      Not really. The game is a party-based RPG. You don't have one single character, you have four. Just remember if it's like the original it'll probably be a safe thing to have all of them invest in Field Medic.

      I have one concern, which I also noted in the forums, and that is that the explanation for Brute Force and Examine seem to indicate that WL2 will not allow players to have characters use attributes to interact with the environment. I think this is bad. You can move a heavy object with sheer strength, you don't need to be trained in a skill to do so. However, you can be trained to identify the correct point of leverage, so a skill like that, which combines Strength and Perception, could be used instead. Conversely, you could use Perception first to lower the to-hit on moving an object with Strength (a 1-2 punch). In order of efficacy, Leverage, Perception then Strength, and finally just Strength.

      Regardless, I hope Attributes remain usable rather than as skill bases.

    25. James Cooper on

      Please try to avoid using any tinny sounding words. Toaster Repair was/is very woody. Thank you.…

    26. Shervyn von Hoerl

      I agree with Samet, this has gone beyond nitpicking to being downright inane. Who cares what it's called?

      Oh wait, I can see the reviews now: "Well this game would have been 5/5 but for some reason they have this completely inexplicable and confusing new attribute call 'Expertise.' I just had no idea what it meant and could not be bothered to find out by reading the manual or looking at in-game help. So this game gets a 2/5."

    27. Jamin Rol on

      So, many people want a new name for 'expertise,' but then we lose the sweet acronym, SPLICES. What to do? Well, if we change expertise, we lose a crucial vowel for acronym creation, so maybe 'Agility' is the best choice, since it's more agreeable to some as a term and still gives us that tasty vowel. Let's see, using's anagram creator with "splicas"... what do we get... ah! Here we go! "Assclip!" Problem solved.

    28. T.J. Brumfield on

      Will Skills and Attributes he hard coded in the engine? Will modders be able to change them or add skills?

    29. T.J. Brumfield on

      +1 for Precision. It is a better name for combining Dexterity and Agility.

      I do find it odd that a game that involves survival in a PA setting has no Endurance, Stamina or Willpower attribute of any kind.

      There is also Cyborg Tech, but no Computer/Hacking skill. There was a mention below of an Advanced skill, or specializations.

      I think it would be neat to have some base skills that can branch out late in the game. It might add more strategy and replay value.

      First Aid could open up specializations in Treating Disease, Setting Bones, etc.

      Science could open up Cyborg Tech, Hacking or Toaster Repair.

      One advantage is wanting to check if a character has some knowledge of science background, you'd have to check for multiple skills, as opposed to a base Science check.

    30. Aven-Fawn mursNine on

      >lack of an edit button<


    31. Aven-Fawn mursNine on

      I've always assumed Agility/Dexterity where always one of the same; with a slightly different look. Agility covered more of the macro, while Dexterity covered more of the micro; but still relating to the same subset of precise body/hand coordination.

      Tho, I am perplexed what would be a good name that would "combine" them both.

    32. Paul Marzagalli on

      Brian, inXile, and company, all I can say is that I hope there's a point where "Toaster Repair" saves the world.

    33. Missing avatar

      Bradley Booms on

      I agree with @Stewart "Zoot" Wymer, I think Precision is a much better term then Expertise. It seems to apply to any movement based skill, where Expertise seems to refer to knowledge based skills.

    34. Igor on

      when are you going to post actual ingame scrn shots, character scrn, inventory & equipment scrn?

    35. Liz Corson on

      Whatever you name the skills, please let respecialization be available. That's usually one of the first mods I find for RPGs. By the time I fully understand the game, I might realize I spent some points on something I didn't really want, or my poor talent choices are hampering me. I'm not going to waste time starting over. I'll just not play anymore. I don't mind if you make it cost resources (eg the Skyrim mod I have that costs you Dragon Souls to respec) or have a cooldown period...just make it an option.

    36. Stevan on

      I'm very curious as to what attribute will determine starting hp and resistance to damage types with no endurance type attribute in the list.

      I'l also +1 that expertise could probably be better worded in some way, but as long as I know what it does during creation I don't see it being a big deal.

    37. Charles Clerc on

      Yes it seems expertise was mistakenly labeled a skill instead of an attribute. My 2c for expertise: I think it makes perfect sense as both agility and dexterity can be enhanced with practice. The problem being that expertise can refer to anything that can be worked on, including anything intellectual. So it does seem a bit misleading to anyone that didn't catch it here or in the manual.

      Coordination doesn't cover agility too well as agility implies a fit, able body while a big oaf can be coordinated.

      Able-body or (physical) aptitude could work. Adroitness technically works but sounds awefully French :)

      I would suggest Aptitude.

    38. Samet Bagcivan on


      That would be nice to see a "New Game +" or something like letting to import our overpowered rangers and start a new game with them ,n a more challenging mode. "Terror of the Wastes" mode where our first enemy is a Scorpitron.

    39. Missing avatar

      Ed on

      Thanks for sharing on this update, I like the design choices, very well thought through.

      Two points I'd like to add relating to the skills are:
      (1) In the first game there were some skills that were not clearly elaborated, and that was quite fun for a fan of the game to guess or conjecture about over the course of the game and several replays
      (2) Do consider allowing for a map reset just like in the first game, so that we would be able to eventually create uber characters again with multiple skills : )

    40. Michael Wyatt on

      I'm also not liking "Expertise" and I think "Coordination" would be a much better replacement for the Dexterity/Agility combination. I'm really liking the Brute Force idea. So... does Backer Skill add to our ability to donate via Kickstarter? ;)

    41. Samet Bagcivan on

      I think some of you guys are a bit sensitive on this " Expertise" thing. It is beyond nitpicking....

    42. Missing avatar

      Tadeusz Cantwell on

      If a character has toaster repair and cyborg tech, can they make cylons?

    43. Cyril Verbá on

      My first thought: Yay! So many dialogue skills instead of just 'speech'.
      My second thought: What? 10 weapon skills? That might lead to some character builds specifically aimed at using a particular weapon or a chain of weapons during a game. Like 99,9% energy weapons users in Fallout 3 end up with a gauss rifle in their arms. But while in F3 it's not a problem to take both energy weapons and, say, big guns, it doesn't sound like it could work out in W2..

    44. Missing avatar

      Libaud Florian on

      Coordination is a better name. Expertise is a confuse name for dexterity and agility.

    45. Missing avatar

      SquigPie on

      Toaster repair? What, like literal toasters?

    46. Anders Elfgren on

      How about "Mobility"? Or "Bodily control"? ;)

    47. Missing avatar

      Linus Gustafsson on

      When I read Expertise I instantly thought "Great, they separated Intelligence from knowledge and called knowledge expertise instead". But then when I read the explanation for expertise it didn't really make sense.

      Backer skill is probably a placeholder for whatever skill they came up with for the backers. They probably want to keep it a secret for know. I doubt that the actual skill will be named [Backer skill].

    48. Missing avatar

      Sebastian on

      While expertise doesn't is rather a broad term, the only other word I can think of that might cover agility and dexterity is nimbleness, and that doesn't have a good sound to it

    49. Missing avatar

      Eric Pratt on

      I'm with a number of others in the vote for renaming "Expertise." I know it sounds like nitpicking but it will confuse a lot of people. I think most people will think of "expertise" as describing a level of skill, not an attribute. I know I'll be constantly getting nagged by this in my head while playing the game.

      I also immediately thought "Coordination" would be a good name like David Lawson suggests. Since you're using Speed and Strength as names, you're not worried about unique first letters so this would fit well.

    50. Michael Franks on

      I have no problem with Expertise, what concerns me is a lack of an attribute or skill for physical hardiness. You could fudge it with Brute Strength, but I see a huge difference between, for example, bench pressing more than someone and being able to drink them under the table - they should be covered by two different skills/attributes.