Waste not want not: Improving Wasteland 2

Wasteland 2 beta update

With Wasteland 2’s beta a month in – a beta that kicked up all manner of nostalgia for me – the hive at inXile has had a lot on its plate, revealed Brian Fargo in an update on Kickstarter, and the work is only going to continue.

8000 suggestions, bugs and comments have been made, 500 new discussion threads have been posted, and 1800 tasks have been generated for the development team, so there’s a lot that Fargo and co. want to address, fix and add to Wasteland 2 before it’s ready to launch.

“One of the things that makes this process unique is having an open beta for a narrative driven RPG,” says Fargo. “Typically we find that beta programs of this size focus on multi-player aspects of games so that the developer can hone in balance, server capacity and features related to multiple people playing a game. In our case we are looking at ways to improve the reactivity of a story driven game in material ways. It is a key tenet to an RPG of this style so expect to see continued changes and additions to areas you have already visited. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly and materially things evolve.”

“If you can’t tell, we have been really happy with how well this process is going. There has been a lot of great criticism on how to make the game better, and we’ve been very excited to see the majority of this criticism agrees with our internal evaluations of what we need to improve on and focus on, such as amount and depth of reactivity, or complexity of combat. In other words, we’re in agreement on the direction this game is heading in!”

Big changes are coming to Wasteland 2’s combat alongside tweaking, bug squashing and the polishing of existing areas. “Destructible cover was part of this last update as a first pass with more fine-tuning to come; we will likely add a crouching stance with a variety of tactical applications; we’re going over a lot of the encounter design to more carefully detail tactics-changing factors like ladders or destructible cover; and we’re in the first testing stages to explore adding a special attack system that’ll allow you to invest AP to make specific kinds of attacks based on your weapon types and the skill levels you’ve achieved in those weapons…things like spread shots or steady shots.”

Other tasks that inXile has set itself are increasing reactivity and connectivity in towns, overhauling medic and surgeon abilities, improving the UI and tweaking pathfinding.

It sounds like there’s a lot more work that’s going to go into Wasteland 2, though it’s already doing a lot of things right, capturing the spirit of the original game along with the likes of Fallout and Fallout 2. In the mean time, the first of three planned novellas, All Bad Things, is close to completion, and Kickstarter backers should receive their copy in the next few weeks.