I’m Montgomery Markland, a producer on Wasteland 2. We’ve got three major items today. World Map, Early Beta and Rewards.
The World Map
Like Fallout or Arcanum, the basic experience on the world map is one of exploration and discovery.
Your travel on the world map is limited by both physical geography and clouds of deadly radiation. Within those constraints, you can travel anywhere in the region depicted on the map. You have two alternative means of exploration while in this game mode.
Primary exploration occurs in a 3D map that shows your immediate surrounding environment with representative scale and geographic features of the region. Significant locations, settlements and sites reveal themselves as you scout around. The 3D exploration is in the same style and pattern as Mount & Blade and Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir.
While in the 3D world map, you can press “M” to bring up a 2D map displaying the entire region. This 2D regional map automatically updates with locations you have either explored yourself, or have been informed of by another Wastelander. The regional map has been handed down from ranger to ranger over the previous century, each adding their own details to what was originally an old-fashioned roadmap from the 1990s.
As you discover radiation zones they are marked on your map In Arizona, locations generally match their canonical layout from Wasteland 1. The map is filled with key locations you will discover through regular playthroughs; but significant sections of the map are side exploration opportunities. There is plenty of space to wander around, discover hidden resources based on your character’s build, fight random encounters and discover minor sites that may be explored in normal game mode.
As you explore the region, you’ll discover three primary things on the world map: settlements, sites and resources. Settlements are major locations, such as Ranger Citadel and the Ag Center. Sites are minor locations such as an abandoned mine or a highway roadblock. Resources include oases where you can refill your canteen and hidden caches where previous Wastelanders have stored ammunition, weapons or other goods.
Exploration is the primary activity; but survival will demand some attention as well.
The Wasteland is a dangerous place, and there are several threats that can end your Ranger career prematurely.
Dying of Dehydration
In Wasteland 2, water management is challenging and important. Your water supply is based upon the number of rangers in your squad and the number of canteens among them. Depending on the type of terrain you are traversing, your water supply is consumed at varying rates. Desert terrain requires the most water, while grassland and highland are more forgiving.
If you run out of water on the world map, you do not immediately die, but over time your rangers will begin to take damage from dehydration. You will eventually die if you do not find a new source of water. Your Outdoorsman skill adjusts the overall water consumption rate as well as the length of time your squad can last without water before suffering from dehydration.
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.
Dying of Radiation Poisoning
You'll want to pay attention to your Geiger counter. Clouds of deadly radiation, remnants from the war, drift throughout the American Southwest. Your Geiger counter measures the radiation level in your immediate surroundings in Sieverts (Sv).
You will encounter varying levels of radiation. The lowest rad levels do not damage you, but rather warn you that higher levels are likely near. Damaging levels of radiation poisoning begin at 500 mSv and can reach exposure levels that are instantaneously deadly. Except in these extremely high doses, radiation will not immediately kill but it definitely packs a bigger punch than dehydration. Saving is recommended when exploring the unknown, far reaches of the region.
Equipping your squad members with rad suits will allow them to survive certain levels of radiation. You can also upgrade your rad suit later in the game to a higher quality version to survive higher doses; but remember that there are pockets of radiation in The Wasteland that are at such high levels that no one can survive, regardless of a rad suit. Proceed carefully.
Dying of Murder
You’re not the only survivors in The Wasteland.
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.
When a random encounter begins, you will have the option to either attack or attempt to run away. Your chance to successfully flee the fight depends on your Speed, Luck and Outdoorsman skill.
Random encounters draw from a wide pool of scenarios. Animals, mutants, raiders and robots will attack from a variety of positions and depending on your skills and abilities your squad may possess the high ground, if any, or your opponents may begin in an advantageous position.
Random encounter zones will match the terrain type you are travelling through and each terrain type has several different encounter layouts. Encounters generally consist of between one to six enemies, though that does not necessarily inform you of the difficulty; one Slicer Dicer will tear through your ranger squad well after you get to the point where six Supaflies are merely an inconvenience.
Skill and Abilities
Your rangers possess a variety skills to help you brave these many dangers. Outdoorsman is the most important for the world map, affecting water consumption, dehydration survival distance, scouting range for new settlements and sites, starting position for random encounters, your chance to run away from said danger, and more. Outdoorsman is the key skill for travel, but you will find uses for it in various other areas of the game as well.
Luck is likely the second most important ability or skill while travelling on the world map. Luck impacts what kind of hidden caches you discover in The Wasteland and how much loot they contain, as well as your likelihood of escape if you try to run away from a random encounter. There are also certain resources and events on the world map that you will only be able to discover if you are extremely Lucky.
Finally, Speed has obvious impact in relation to random encounters, as mentioned above, and several of your other abilities and skills will reveal hidden caches, high value items, unique encounters and undiscovered oases with greatly increased water supplies.
As with all of the challenges facing a ranger on the wastes, we modulate difficulty according to your settings. We provide a specific Travel Difficulty slider, which controls the overall challenge of the world map as well as the level of hinting and signposting present in the HUD and on the map. In easy mode, navigating The Wasteland is simple and does not require much thought. In hard mode, a simple factor like water management can be brutal and challenging. Medium strikes a balance; challenging but with enough freedom to wander and explore.
You’re all no doubt anxious to get your hands on the Early Beta and we’re anxious to get it to you! We’re now in the stage where we have distributed standalone copies of the Early Beta to a small group of external individuals as a test run. This is the final stage where we ensure it is up to our standards and runs on a variety of machines, and we’ll then be ready to get it to you.
Early Beta will only be distributed through Steam, as called out in the original Kickstarter reward tiers. The final release will – of course – be available through a wide variety of channels; but running the Early Beta through Steam is the optimal option. Any other solution would require a non-trivial investment of resources into Early Beta distribution; we feel those resources are better spent on the general quality, stability and scope of the game.
We’re seeing steady progress on the various rewards you’re due. We’ve got specific information on Wasteland 1 and T-Shirts today. We’ll have more detailed information on other rewards, such as the coins, medals, patches and miniatures very soon.
We noted back in Update 33 that Wasteland 1 would be getting a standalone release.
Where is it!
First, we’re ensuring it runs on modern machines, higher resolutions, faster processors, and all that jazz. We’re also giving it some polish for rerelease including a Mark Morgan music track, integration of the original paragraph texts into the game, and optional paragraph voice over & uprezzed portraits (both of which may be toggled on and off). We've spent a very limited amount of time on the WL1 portrait uprezzes and if possible we'd like to open up the ability to customize the WL1 portraits to the community themselves. We’ve also added support for multiple save games – now you don’t have to wipe the game clean to start over.
Wasteland 1 will be made available for free to all backers (including late backers as well as people getting it through the rewards associated with backing Torment: Tides of Numenera or Project Eternity), and sold as a separate title on GOG and Steam.
Responses to the t-shirt survey have been processed and shirts will be shipping out very soon. We’re also switching to a new system for any t-shirt stragglers; you’ll receive a code on Ranger Center which you can redeem at the J!nx website.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for backing. And thank you for your impending feedback and bug reports during the Early Beta.