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Your mind just exploded like a blood sausage.

"Now Rangers, I know it seems, at times, our cause is hopeless. And I know it's hard to say goodbye to a brother in arms. But I want you to know something else - that no Ranger that dies in the line of duty will ever be forgotten, nor will he ever have died in vain... or, unavenged."
General Vargas
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Wasteland 2 is a sequel to the classic 1988 CRPG Wasteland, notable not only for bringing back a quarter of a century-old brand but also for being the first big name Western RPG crowd-funded on Kickstarter. It was developed by inXile Entertainment, a studio made up of former Interplay employees who worked on the first game, with Obsidian Entertainment and Chris Avellone as co-developers. Originally expected for an October 2013 release, the crowdfunding exceeding initial goals caused it to be delayed more than once before its release on September 19, 2014 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Fifteen years have passed since a squad of Desert Rangers defeated the insane cyborg Finster and the Base Cochise AI, saving the world from a second apocalypse. After their long trek home, the Rangers realize that they now have a prime opportunity to upgrade their arsenal, and migrate from their former base at the Federal Prison to the Citadel, whose violent inhabitants had been eradicated. There, they began studying the base's secrets, hoping to use the knowledge they gained there to improve the quality of life out in the desert.

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But all is not well in the Wasteland. While the Rangers were holed up in their safe new base, other groups began making power plays. Highpool's still bitter about that kid the Rangers killed, the old Prison base has been taken over by a gang of exploitative thugs known as the Red Skorpion Militia, the Rail Nomads have fallen back on their old grudges, a radiation storm has cut off contact with Quartz and Vegas, and you can't so much as rub your nose without running into the many gangs of raiders roaming the desert. And those are just the problems that don't spoil the story.

This last one's the kicker, though... Strange radio broadcasts are coming from the west, offering immortality and a future where man and machine are one, and, perhaps most worryingly, outright threatening to destroy the Desert Rangers and everything they stand for. It was enough to get ol' General Vargas spooked, and one of the old Cochise team, Ace, was sent to investigate. Ranger HQ lost contact with him days ago, and now he's finally come home... in a bodybag. Now it's up to the next generation of Rangers to find out who's responsible for his death, how it's linked to those broadcasts, and what's been stirring up trouble in the Arizona Wasteland - all while protecting the people of the wasteland and bolstering their ranks. No pressure, rookie...

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At the 2015 Game Developers Conference, a Game of the Year Edition version was announced. Dubbed Wasteland 2: Director's Cut, the game was released on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC on October 13, 2015. Anyone who owned the original computer version before the Director's Cut was released received it for free. The Director's Cut features updated graphics note  which include overhauled art and lighting and updated character models, a "Quirks and Perks" system similar to the trait and perk systems from the Fallout series, a Precision Strike system (aimed shots, replacing/expanding upon the Headshot system in the original game), and new voice overs for all major characters.

A third game, Wasteland 3 was successfully funded in November 2016, and is currently in development for a 2019 release. Its most commonly known change is an icy apocalypse, where you're more likely to be killed by hypothermia than dehydration - in the frozen wastelands of Colorado.


The game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Achievement Mockery:
    • The "What Does This Button Do?" achievement, which is awarded for accidentally setting off the tactical nuke in the Ranger headquarters and getting a Non-Standard Game Over.
    • The "A Night To Remember" achievement is earned by catching an STD.
  • Action Bomb: Servants of the Mushroom Cloud have a very effective deterrent against raiders. Attack them or people under their protection and they blow up home-made dirty bombs strapped to their bodies, taking you both down - and usually the people they were trying to protect too.
  • After the End: Like the original, the game is set after a nuclear war that devastated much of the world.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: One of the ways to navigate under Darwin Village requires from entire Echo Team - up to seven grown up people with tons of military equipment - to crawl in ventilation duct. And doing it silently.
  • A.K.A.-47: Zig-zagged. Some weapons have their proper names, while others have made up or even Punny Names.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Justified ad they are American deserts. Saguaro cacti would show up in the first part of the game as it happens to take place in the one desert which they are native to.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: The Rail Nomads worship John Henry and Choo Choo Charlie as their gods. The Atchisons mock the Topekans for having such a ridiculous and unmanly deity as Choo Choo Charlie.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The final mission is an assault on the Ranger Citadel, which has been taken over by the Children of the Citadel while the Rangers were busy running around dealing with all the trouble the Children had started across the wasteland.
  • Ambadassador: You may be packing heat, but the three dialogue skills - Kiss-Ass, Smart-Ass and Hard-Ass - are vitally important if you want to get some of the better endings. Using them also gets you extra XP.
  • Anti-Hero: It's perfectly possible to accept a quest to rescue a woman, kill her, and tell the man you accepted the quest that you arrived too late. Just another day in the wasteland.
  • Anyone Can Die: The game just opens with Ace's funeral and the cementary is full of graves of important characters and potent recruits from the previous game. Not even the "main" characters from first game are safe. The squad can find out Hell Razor was murdered, while upon trying to reach California, Angela Deth will die, too. Trasher is then killed when Matthias invades the Citadel. It is even possible for Snake Vargas to bite it in a suicidal mission, but in this case this is left to player's decision and the game will chew you for doing so. Hell, there are even replacements waiting in the Citadel, recruitable only if any of your four starting recruits die.
  • Appeal to Flattery: All dialogue options unlocked by the Kiss Ass skill involve flattering the person you want something out of.
  • Appeal to Force: All dialogue options given by the Hard Ass skill are all about intimidation.
  • The Apunkalypse: Much more prominent than in the first game. Not only there are raiders, slavers and other such groups that fill the bill to the T, but Rangers too are now present in combination of this and a very Used Future.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: A gun that fires 5.56 ammo will often do several times more damage than another gun that also fires 5.56. This even applies to guns like the M16 and the M4 carbine - extremely similar guns, but one does about twice the damage of the other.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Barely any gun can shoot further than 40 meters, even after heavy modifications.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Enforced with sniper rifles and assault rifles. Characters armed with them get the "Under Pressure" status, which drops weapon accuracy when enemies are very close. The player must choose whether to attempt a shot with a reduced chance to hit, move to a greater range or switch weapons. Some of the perks added in the Director's Cut help reduce them.
  • Armor Is Useless: Damage reduction from armor is based on how much its AC exceeds an attack's penetration value. While this can theoretical reduce damage by a lot, armor that is not way above your current enemies' place in the power curve tends to reduces damage by about 0-20% for light armor and 0-30% for heavy armor - if at all, since the enemies can in turn have weapons multiple tiers above currently worn armor. The downsides to using armor are often far more severe: it's expensive, makes you far more vulnerable to energy weapons, and the movement penalties for heavy armor are crippling even when you meet the strength requirements. Director's Cut reworked energy weapons so they only do extra damage to metallic armor (the heavier kind in a given tier). The removes the downsides to wearing light armor (although it still doesn't help much) and makes metallic/heavy armor even worse.
    • Armor, at least the one worn by enemies, is further made redundant with introduction of weapon-specific perks and precision strikes in Director's Cut. With status effect reducing armor up to -3 and perks cutting another -1, enemies in Arizona are virtually unarmored and the ones in California can be easily pierced.
    • There are also perks and quirks that raise the armor of the ranger. A lot of them. Due to the way armor works, a ranger with all of these, in heavy armor, should be taking only 20% damage from the hardest enemies in the game, and actually will receive 0% damage from the vast majority. Only energy weapons pose any kind of threat, and very few enemies even use energy weapons.
  • Art Shift: Character portraits vary in art style, ranging from somewhat realistic to cartoonishly exaggerated. The most noticeable examples are the the Waste Wolf and the companion Pizepi Joren.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Characters enlisted during the gameplay can act on their own or disobey orders if you don't have someone with a good Leadership skill. Sometimes it turns out okay but other times it's dangerous or wasteful.
    • It's very easy to lure your enemies from their perfectly safe and impenetrable positions by engaging them at long distance - they will abandon their posts in a Zerg Rush.
    • If Non Player Characters enlisted into your squad are somewhat unruly, NPCs assigned for quests and escort are just plain suicidal.
  • Back Tracking: So much and done in such blunt way it's sometimes entirely possible to go and brew some tea while your Rangers are busy running from point A to B in bigger locations. Maze-like level architecture only makes it worse, since it takes few all-around circles to traverse relatively short distances.
  • Bag of Spilling: It's 15 years since the first game and now there are no traces of all the stuff Rangers could get their hands on.
  • Battle in the Rain: It's always raining upon entering Damonta and facing the small army of robots.
  • Beef Gate: How the game keeps the player from just going anywhere is to put up raditation zones in various places, but there's nothing stopping you from simply going south right at the start of the game. This is a bad idea not only because the Ag Center and Hightown quests start immediately, but because you start running into enemies that have HP around 100 at a time when you've probably got no armor and even those with the higher damaging weapons are lucky to be able to break 15 damage an attack.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: You will reguarly run into mutated maggots and flies the size of pigs.
  • Blaming the Railroaded Player Character: Early in the game, two locations are being attacked simultaneously and you have to choose which one of them to assist (and no, you can't save both no matter what you do). The other location is overrun and the few survivors berate you when you go there after saving the first.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Director's Cut adds quirks similar to Fallout's Trait system; in game mechanics the character trades one thing for another. In-universe, most of the traits are mental defects or physical deformities for which the character has compensated. A few of them are so bad one must wonder how the character survived the walk to Citadel in the first place, let alone making it through training.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The... colorful flavor text is back, complete with body parts gibbing and exploding. Some animations upon critical death try to match them.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Headshots deal more damage than normal shots, but they can't crit, are less accurate, and take an additional 2 AP, regardless of a standard attack's AP cost. Depending on critical multiplier of your weapon, you can have a possibility of dealing less damage than by a normal shot. This makes headshots most effective for attacks with high base accurate, low crit chance, and/or high AP costs.
    • In Director's Cut the old system has been removed and headshots are instead part of the Precision Strike system which allows for the targeting of specific body parts for different effects. Precision Strikes to the head suffer a -60% accuracy penalty in exchange for dealing +35% damage in addition to a debilitating mental status effect. This makes headshots universally more powerful than normal shots, assuming they land.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Making your starting party be made up nothing but Assault Rifle users isn't a particularly varied or exciting way to play, but they can handle pretty much everything the game throws at them combat-wise, aside very brief issues with ammo.
    • Compared to Rose, a field medic with high electronic skills and cybernetic limb, Vulture's Cry is just your average, run-the-mill sniper with such outstanding starting skills like Animal Whisperer and Outdoorsman. She's still by far the best recruit the squad can get. Due to her spread of stats, she never suffers from Empty Levels, her starting gear is over-powered upon recruitment and her Perception skill allows to save a lot of points on your own Rangers. She's also the least likely recruit to act on her own. Since she lacks cybernetic parts, she also can't be taken over by Cochise AI in the final.
    • Ralphy Parker has nothing special about him - which is what makes him so versalite and useful. Rather than being a one-trick pony like every other possible squad member, Ralphy has balanced stats allowing him to pursuit any ranged build desired. He's also relatively loyal, rarely going rogue even without having Leadership skill. His only weakness - low Skill Point gain per level - is either negated by level 10 (he starts at 5) or doesn't apply at all in Director's Cut. On top of that, rather than having two low-level secondary skills, he has the points concentrated on level 5 Toaster Repair - all you will ever need in Arizona.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The "Slicer Dicer" bots are much tougher than any of the other mooks in Arizona. They have an armor rating of 5 (when the second-strongest foes have 4), a large amount of AP, 540 HP (about five times more than most enemies) and several highly-damaging ranged area-of-effect moves. They also explode when killed, dealing significant damage to anything within a wide radius. It's possible for an intrepid party of Rangers to encounter a trio of them early on in the (completely optional) Abandoned Railway location.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Toaster Repair is now actually a useful skill. If you fix the toasters lying around you'll often find a Chekhov's Gun for another NPC, or extra V
    • Combat Shooting is now a prestige skill that actually does something.
    • Charisma is no longer a Dump Stat. It governs the range of the Leadership skill and too low a combined party score will prevent certain characters from joining up with you.
    • The 1911 was a starting weapon in the original game. In this, it's the most powerful handgun in the game.
  • Butch Lesbian: Hopi, married to Magee, in Damonta. If you brought Chisel with you, he will mistake her for a man. It also turns out Magee has unladylike real name - Bernice.
  • Bus Crash: The cemetery outside Ranger Citadel contains pretty much every recruitable NPC from the first game, who all died in service to the Rangers in the 15 years between games. Life in the wasteland is indeed harsh.
  • But Thou Must!: Certain things just have to be done. You must pick one town to help or visit certain locations - it's impossible to advance the plot without doing so or fulfilling certain quests.
  • Butterfly of Doom: A Dummied Out ending has the Rail Nomads camp utterly wiped out by robots if and only if the player's party turned over a turtle that was stuck on its back.
  • Calling An Android A Synth: Advanced robots outfitted with AI are called synths.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Played for laughs, when Baker One squad cornered a robber by name of Esteban Negro in a bar. Instead of fighting with him, their captain keep on drinking with the guy, until he passed out.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Thrasher - one of the starting party members from the first game - was crippled from the final battle at Base Cochise.
  • Cargo Cult: Monks from the Titan's Canyon are praying to the Titan II ICBM. They are using it to uphold peace (or as close to it as their religion allows) in the region - if someone wants to play rough, they'll detonate it, killing everyone and everything for kilometers.
  • Character Customization: Your whole team can be customized by gender, portraits, and looks. Heck, you can even pick things like their religion and smokes they like. The brand of smokes you pick will have one packet with you as you start out. Of course it also covers attributes and skills. This allows one character to be good at breaking down doors, another hacking, and so on and so forth. There is also a randomize option which will give the player a balanced party every time. And outside statistics and skills, nothing else truly matters.
  • Character Portrait: The old-style ones. You can pick from existing collection or implement you own in the PC version. This can also end with an awkward situation where the portrait you picked won't match your character's customizable looks. Or worse, somehow matching an NPC portrait.
  • Child Soldier: Ralphy Parker, one of recruitable NPCs, is a teen somewhere between 13 and 16.
  • Church Militant: All religious organisations. Servants of the Mushroom Cloud stands out the most, since they managed to turn MAD doctrine into a sacred rite.
  • Clothing Damage: If a character gets caught in the explosion of a nuke grenade, all the clothes they're wearing will be destroyed. Mind you, weapons and armor will be fine, but you'll have to get some new clothes if you don't want them running around in their undies.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: If you rescue Highpool and fulfil all their quests properly, you can get most of the people there to like you again, but Sean Bergin will always be a jerk to you.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Subverted. Only solid or relatively big objects can be used as cover, so a concrete column will work, but corral fence won't. Also, hiding behind solid objects that won't count as cover in combat will still greatly reduce chances of being spotted. If the enemy is behind cover, watch your accuracy towards them early-game go into single digits. Thankfully, this also applies to you, so you can sneak up on them.
  • Cool, But Inefficient: The legendary Blood Staff deals massive damage for its tier, can attack diagonally, has longer range than standard melee, and is a reliable weapon thanks to an even better multiplier for critical damage and consistently deals bleeding wounds. But it costs 7 Action Points to swing it, while other melee weapons take between 3 and 5 AP. Even with upgrades that lower AP usage, it still falls a bit short.
    • Subverted in Director's Cut, where the AP cost is lowered to 5, making it one of the better melee weapons around whne it shows up.
  • Cool Shades: Pair of mirrored aviators, that make it easier to take your aim, but also reduce wearer's Awareness. Some of the character face options include sunglasses for flavor.
  • Crapsaccharine World:
    • Red Scorpions call it "Happy Valley", but the locals call it Prison Valley. It's a honeypot trap designed to attract farmers from around into coming and then take their land and put them into slave-like servitude. The farm itself is very smooth, clean and efficient, but it's more like a slave plantation than the envisioned "demo version" of what homesteaders can achieve there.
    • Angel Oracle is prosperous community ruled by good manners and everyone is very polite. They also practice ritual cannibalism and kill people for such things like not keeping your bunk clean or having a dandruff, with inhabitants actively looking for a reason to get other community members killed.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Crowbars are mid-tier blunt weapons and when they show up, they rock in their class. Even more so when modded.
  • Crutch Character: Angela Deth. She is at a higher level, with decent combat and several support skills, and make the first part of the game less frustrating.
    • Vax in the Director's Cut. When first recruited, he'll likely be able to do more damage in a single round of combat than the entire rest of the party combined, but his low health and inability to level up or be directly ordered leads him to become a liability later in the game.
  • Cure for Cancer: Doctor Tidemann jokingly remarks that's the only thing that could save him at this stage of his lung cancer. You can find a full cabinet of literal universal cure for cancer in Darwin Village, created many years ago by Finster. If you provide Tidemann with them, he will not only be cured, but reverse-engineer those pills.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Pretty much everything about the starting party and the RPCs from the first game have been set in stone. Including the personalities and backgrounds of the starting party.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The conflict between the Topekans and Atchisons has reached the point where both sides are driven purely by revenge for previous attacks. Both chiefs have completely lost sight of the well-being of their people and just want to kill as many people from the opposite camp as possible.
  • Darker And Grittier: It might be just the colouring that makes it darker, but the game is considerably more gritty.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: The Night Terror, if you ignore his ... er ... unusual dietary preferences.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In Highpool you see a bunch of kids calling racial taunts to an imprisoned Native American. This is not treated like a good thing.
    "I'm making fun of you because of my low self-esteem!"
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Weaponsmithing is a skill that allows to strip weapons for parts and then install them in other guns, enhancing their performance. The additional parts can be rearranged or removed on a whim.
  • Determined Homesteader: You can find pieces of diary written by a farmer living around Ranger Center and covering the gradual collapse of the area after Rangers moved base from the old Ranger Center to the Citadel. Yet the guy stayed in the place and protected it. It ended killing his family and finally him too.
  • Dirty Old Man: Chisel, who is 72, will sometimes hit on the women you meet during your journey.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ralphy Parker's dad, Rannel, left his family many years ago. You can meet him later in the Canyon of Titan.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • As soon as you get access to Ranger Citadel by completing Ag Center or Highpool, you can buy a number of items several tiers above what you've found. The M-16 in particular does about twice the damage of most other weapons at that point, and can be used all the way into the second half of the game.
    • To a lesser extent, if Rail Nomads Camp is rushed, there is a weapon stache containing unique Farsight sniper rifle. It is perfectly capable of killing early game enemies in single shot and only gets outdated once Canyon of Titan is reached. And there is another, even easier to find stache containing regular Karabiner sniper rifle on regular basis, still giving a massive edge.
    • SMGs deal the highest damage of all tier 1 and 2 weapons. On paper they suck, since they only have burst mode eating 3-4 bullets, but can kill pretty much anything at this stage of the game with a single attack. This is opposed to entire squad having to aim at a single target, so still using the same amount of bullets, but decreasing number of enemies put down per turn. And said 3-4 bullets are for pistols, thus conserving otherwise scarce ammo for sniper and assault rifles. SMGs eventually get obsolete as armor gets higher and other gun classes gain substantial range advantage.
  • Divided We Fall: If Rangers won't interfere in Rail Nomads' conflict in any way, both tribes will wipe each other out. This will also leave Arizona without any mass transportation.
  • Downer Ending: The loading screen admits that you can't help everybody, and most people are aware that you have to pick between Highpool and Ag Center. But in the Canyon of Titan, things take a real dive. One side is a trigger-happy militia that makes the Red Skorpions look restrained. The other is a cult of nice, but insane monks who worship a bomb.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The NPCs of whom you can recruit in the first game have all passed away by the time the events of the second game begin. Ace, in particular, would be the last of the original generation of the Rangers to die and his death is what partly kicks off the plot. You can find the tombstones of the members later on.
  • Drop the Hammer: You can use sledgehammers in battle. The hammer was also the signature weapon of Red Samson, the messiah of God's Militia.
  • Dump Stat:
    • Savvy players will forgo Luck. Contrary to claims, it does not affect item drops. Its actually effects are numerous bonuses normally provided by other stats/skills, but they're generally so diminished (or worthless in the first place) that even their cumulative effect is negligible.
    • Charisma is an unusual case: it has a number of positive effects for whoever's leading the party, affects the Leadership Skill which keeps other party members in line, boosts Non-Combat EXP, and total party Charisma decides if some of the Optional Party Members will join you. But it doesn't stack in battle, so you only need one party member with high Charisma.
    • Believe it or not, but Coordination, the main provider of Action Points, is a complete waste during character creation. It's entirely possible to make characters with dumped Coordination and have as much AP as with high starting one, all while enjoying the benefits of other stats being higher.
  • Early Game Hell: The game is not forgiving. You start with four level 1 Ranger recruits, who can die very quickly (and we are talking Baldur's Gate 1 quickly). ALL skills are useful sooner or later, so you can't be sure which ones to forgo in character creation. No matter where you go, you will keep running into mutated animals with no ammo drop. You'll probably end up Save Scumming like crazy.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Achieving any kind of happy ending takes a lot of work and usually includes side-quests. There's even some Guide Dang It! because there are some counter-intuitive decisions involved. And there is no Golden Ending. Either Highpool or Ag Center will be destroyed, no matter how hard you try - it's even invoked by one of the loading tips. You can do your best, but nothing turns out perfectly.
    • If you want Highpool to really like you at the end of the game, you can't just save the dam, fix all their side-quests, and destroy the Wreckers base - you have to give the Juvies a wrist rocket and marbles instead of the cigarettes they ask for, which only show as options if you have them in your inventory, otherwise Sean Bergin will eventually start making trouble again over Rangers corrupting youth.
    • In the Rail Nomads, everybody knows you have to tell Casey about nearly blowing up his own daughter to get him to surrender. But a full peace can only be attained by a great deal of back-and-forth between the two leaders and some very specific dialogue options.
    • If you want to save the daughter from Tinker, you need to have somebody with a sufficient Computer Science disabling Tinker's computers before she can command the girl's heart to explode during battle. That means having somebody with sufficient Computer Science disabling them while powerful robots attack you all.
    • You can make a truce with the Red Skorpion Militia by curing Danforth's dogs, which requires you to talk to Jobe again after the slaughter of Happy Valley, which some people might not think to do since they will have talked to him already. Hey, it's better than the constant fighting. But if you want the full Treaty, you'll only get the option if you have some pretty impressive Smart Ass skills as well.
  • Empty Levels: Many attributes only give a fraction of a stat point (i.e. Coordination gives 1/2 an Action Point, Speed gives 1/2 a Combat Initiative Point, Strength gives a half point CON increase per level), and the final results will be rounded down. This means increasing an attribute by one point tends to give little or even zero benefit. Intelligence is the most extreme case, only giving 1/4 of an Action Point and skill point-per level increases when brought to 4, 8, and 10.
  • Enemy Chatter: Often happens when you sneak behind enemy position instead of knocking to the front door. In some cases it's advised to shoot them before they finish their talk, or they can do something stupid, like triggering a trap on container, destroying it's content in the process.
  • Epic Fail: If someone missed with the entire burst from heavy weapon, the description says that the target of the attack wasn't even aware it was for him/her.
  • Everything Breaks: Especially doors and cover. Your loot breaks too, if you blow up a chest before you open it.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Red Scorpion Militia are a gang of organised raiders that took Ranger Center after Rangers moved to the Citadel. They are styling themselves as another law-abiding group of protectors, but they are also brutal, extortion-based thugs who rule with heavy hand over their "turf". They say they provide protection but they don't even provide that, when Highpool is attacked by the Wrecking Crew.
    • The Diamondback Militia seem a whole lot saner than the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud but if you side with them you'll find out that they're just ruthless jerks. If they take control of the area they set up higher tolls than the Monks, making trade fall off.
  • Evil Gloating: By the Cochise AI after you defeat its last team of synths within the Ranger Citadel - Cochise will rub in how your team is powerless to stop them now. This actually does help the AI, though - if you take the time to stand around and listen to its gloating, you will have only a very short time to take the steps necessary to achieve victory, whereas it likely does not lose anything by gloating.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Happens early on - it's simply impossible to save both the Ag Center and Highpool. You have to sacrifice one of them.
  • Fake Longevity: There is a lot of backtracking and overly long combat sequences, doubling the gameplay time in very unsubtle way.
  • Famed In-Story: The Rangers from the first game.
  • Feudal Future: Red Scorpions act like feudal overlords combined with mafia, "owning" everything and everyone in their territory. In return they provide protection from other raiders.
  • Filk Song: "Cries of a Dead World" by Miracle of Sound. The dev team liked it so much, that they commissioned a remixed version for the credits.
  • Five-Man Band: Invoking this trope is a viable strategy in this game; Good leadership skills are useful for making sure NPCs go rogue less often, you need an Ambadassador to get the best results from dialogue, scientific skills can avoid combat in certain situations or at least make them easier while other skills have their uses in various locations and, of course, having someone to lug around gear and carry heavy weapons is useful especially against tougher enemies. NPCs can fall under The Sixth Ranger.
  • Fog of War: Both world map and each location are completely black when you enter them for the first time, and if you're not watching them directly even discovered areas fade out.
  • Glass Cannon: Vax in the Director's Cut is able to stay with your party for the entire game and has firepower that is overwhelming for when he's recruited and remains competitive over the course of the game, but starts with a below-average 50 hitpoints and can never gain more.
  • Golden Ending: Subverted - depending on your actions you can improve life in the Wastelands of Arizona and California, and make the Rangers stronger and more respected, but in a lot of regions there's still a lot of trouble and good people have died. There is no golden ending possible and even loading tips point that out.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The final battle has a large number of NPCs that you helped show up to the fight.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Since all dialogues are handled as conversation with everyone present nearby and Charisma is not involved with dialogues, but skills are, it's a perfectly viable option to make two Rangers play their respective roles with Hard Ass and Kiss/Smart Ass skills. In certain builds it goes as far as being the most efficient way, since it allows bigger spread of skills instead of having single Face with no points to spare on fighting or other vital abilities.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Brawling skill.
  • Grey and Black Morality: Depending on the player's choices, the Rangers can be little better than the raiders and monsters they fight. But they are the best hope for the Wasteland.
  • Guide Dang It!: Skill books rise given skill by 1. There is a corresponding book to each skill. One, single-use book, something that is never spelled anywhere in the game or the manual. It's perfectly possible to waste some of them early on, expecting to find more later and realise half-way through the game there aren't any further books after the first one.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • Melee attacks that do far more damage than a target's CON can result in their entire upper half being destroyed, leaving a limp pair of legs where they were standing.
    • One of the victims of the raid in Highpool was cut in half with with power tools. Thankfully you weren't there to see it happen, just the aftermath.
  • Heal Thyself:
    • Upon receiving field promotion characters restore their full health for no apparent reason.
    • Subverted with actual healing. Without specific skills and military-grade med packs, all your characters can do is pop some painkillers, which barely restores any health and is explicity pointed out as a temporary solution.
  • Hijacked by Ganon/Evil Is Not a Toy: The Big Bad's plan turns out to be to resurrect the Cochise A.I. and merge with it, claiming to wanting to lead the wasteland into a new golden age. Once resurrected, Cochise promptly erases his mind, takes over the bodies of him and all his minions, and once again tries to Take Over the World.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Darwin Village, which is hidden within a heavily irradiated area. The place itself is known to many, but everyone simply assumed nothing could survive in such conditions nor there are any convenient ways to get there to check the real situation.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Honest Jon, a trader from Atchison Camp, who is selling old gaming consoles.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Just like in the first game, Agricultural Center runs on this trope whenever you inspect vegetation or description of surroundings is present.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The game's difficulty levels are Rookie (Easy), Seasoned (Normal), Ranger (Hard) and Supreme Jerk (Very Hard).
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: The enemies you find in the later areas could probably take over Arizona on their own, even if their in-universe description is one of just another colorful raider gang.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: M16 assault rifles can be bought as soon as entering Ranger Citadel, run on abundant 5.56mm ammo, have decent range and deal very satisfying, consistent damage. Enemies got tougher? Just switch to burst mode. Those rifles will carry Team Echo all over Arizona.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Constantly present in different forms and designs, but there are also many places where they can be broken down to create shortcuts.
  • It's Personal: Quite widespread:
    • Commander Robert Danforth of Red Scorpion Militia, aka Bobby from the first game has a well-justified grudge against Desert Rangers, since he was almost killed as a kid and his dog was shot without a sigle word by Snake Vargas.
    • Angela Deth joins Team Echo and breakes almost all possible regulations in the process, since all she cares about is finding out who and why killed her beloved Ace. The only reason Vargas allows for any of that is because he's Angela's best friend.
    • After it's implied Angela and her squad were shot down in California without provocation, dying in the process, Vargas has a Tranquil Fury moment in full voice-over, where you almost hear him grinding his teeth while ordering full mobilisation of Rangers and planning entire campaign in California.
    • Rose, before fully rejecting her past, held a grudge against Desert Rangers, since she was part of the Guardians and survived their slaughter and conquest of the Citadel by blind chance.
    • Matthias and Dugan are both the remnants of the Guardians, having every reason to hate Desert Rangers and making their destruction part of their scheme.
  • It's Up to You: Everybody else is busy with other important tasks.
  • Jerk Ass: The "Asshole" quirk turns your character into one. Having an asshole ranger makes Hard Ass dialogue options always succeed, but bars you from using Smart Ass or Kiss Ass options, so you still need somebody with those dialogue options.
  • Keywords Conversation: Similarly to the early Fallout games, the game tracks available keywords as pressable buttons in the dialogue window but also lets the player type them in manually.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: To an extent. Energy weapons are no longer pretty much required to beat the game like in the original Wasteland, and tend to have a high AP cost. The game seems to run on the premise that an energy pistol is easily better than a kinetic one, but an energy rifle is too costly to use compared to a regular rifle. Energy weapons, though, are by far better to use against enemies with high AC than kinetic weapons, especially in vanilla game.
  • Last Stand: When you meet Howdy for the second time, his body will be laying at the base of important stairs, with an empty gun and between remains of few robots.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Averted. Spraying a burst - which is only 3-5 bullets long - affects aiming considerably, making it harder to score a hit. Each bullet is evaluated separately, so hitting with one does not guarantee to hit with whole burst.
  • Level Up: Levels are handled as literal Field Promotions. Each time some of your Rangers gather enough experience to level, you must radio the base, get the promotion and Vargas' congratulations for doing well.
  • Lemony Narrator: The Flavor Text can get pretty damn snarky sometimes.
    "You have no idea what happened here, but the thick, wet smell of vegetables surrounds you like a cloying wet blanket of... vegetablism."
  • Limited Loadout: Oddly combined with Hyperspace Arsenal and unlimited inventory space. The amount of stuff a character can carry is not limited, but its weight is. Getting more stuff in the backpack than allowed by Strength will provide with hefty encumbrance penalties.
  • The Load:
    • Ralphy is considered as one by all the Rail Nomads, which is the only reason you he is allowed to join Echo Team. Even his mother consider this as having one mouth less to feed. He also has many flavour texts presenting him as a somewhat wide eyed tribal kid. However, he is one of the best and most reliable recruits you can get, while also saving you a lot of trouble with Toaster Repair skill.
    • All of the characters that join you for or as escort are these, since you have no direct control over them. Some of them cross the line into The Millstone territory with suicidal charging toward enemies able to shred them into pieces with a single attack.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: To the point where there are sidequests of sidequests on regular basis, dawg.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Magee, married to Hopi, in Damonta. Take Chisel with you, and he will hit on her, leading her to rebuff his advances on the ground that a) she is lesbian and b) even is she wanted to be with a man, she would take someone younger (Chisel is 72).
  • Master of All: Although Assault Rifles are second to most other weapons in every category (single-round damage, ability to do burst damage, range, penetration, etc.), their versatility and availability of ammo makes them a great all-around weapon, with the exception of energy weapons against heavily-armored foes.
  • Master of None: Attempting to give a character too many different skills will result in low skill levels in each category. Your best bet is to have each character specialize with different weapons and skills.
  • Meaningful Name: Red Scorpion Militia currency is literally named scrib.
  • Minmaxer's Delight: Director's Cut introduced quirk and perk system similar to Fallout. With right set of starting quirk, skills and perks it is possible to make rangers far stronger than they would normally be for minimal or no real trade-off.
  • Min-Maxing: Director's Cut allows to pick perks for skills and combining their effects with (optional) starting quirk. Highlights include Psychopath ranger with Weaponsmith and Hard Ass skills using SMGs, gaining bonus to critical hits and aim with each bullet hitting the mark, while earning Action Points each time a kill is scored, further snowballing the aim and critical bonuses. Or a sniper with Brittle Bones - while this makes the character move slower in combat, it grants additional Action Points and since snipers are usually stationary, conserves additional AP for not moving.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Honey badgers infest the deserts of Arizona, despite being indigenous to Africa and the Middle East. Not that the honey badgers care.
  • Missing Backblast: Thankfully rocket launchers and alike don't have backblast, allowing them to be used without risking burning rangers standing right behind.
  • Mission Control: You are maintaining constant radio contact with Ranger Citadel and levels are handled only after reporting your current status. This comes in handy when gaining enough experience to level up, but still being under the debuffing effect of the disease from Darwin Village - automated level-up could potentially lead to waste of precious skill points.
  • Multiple Endings: Like the Fallout series, Wasteland 2 has a variety of endings based on your decisions throughout the game, ranging from bittersweet, complete downer, or some hard earned bastion of happiness.
  • Multiple Persuasion Modes: Hard Ass, Kiss Ass, and Smart Ass. These generally correspond to the Intimidate, Charm, and Reason modes, respectively.
  • Mundane Luxury: Damonta is prosperous and industrious enough to have such things as air conditioning, small brewery, electricity provided to everyone and their own radio station. Sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it?
  • Mutants: The current inhabitants of Darwin Village, since they have no problems with radiation and they would be hunted down anywhere else in Arizona.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: The Servants of the Mushroom Cloud adhere to this as a religious doctrine, on both a micro and a macro scale. The leadership threatens to detonate a nuclear warhead to wipe out the entire area if any other faction tries to take over.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Depending on which area you go first, you will have the choice to recruit either Rose (Ag Center) or Vulture's Cry (Highpool). The other one will die while you are busy solving the problems of the area you are in.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Angela Deth. During combat, she'll lampshade it asking who in their right minds would pick a fight with someone whose last name is Deth.
  • Necessary Drawback: Countless examples with weapons, armour and special, enhancing items.
    • Assault rifles and especially sniper rifles get an aiming penalty when used in close ranges.
    • SMGs are more powerful than pistols but can only fire in burst mode and are best at close range.
    • Revolvers pack a bigger punch than pistols, but they hold only six bullets and have a shorter range.
    • Almost all enhancing items trade one attribute, secondary statistic or skill for another.
    • Heavy armor, while offering greater level of protection, also affects speed and requires a minimal level of Strength or else it reduces speed even more. Most of them also provide a nice little oven when an enemy is armed with an energy weapon.
    • Headshots deal more damage, but have a reduced hit percentage, no chance for a critical hit, and cost more AP.
    • Shotguns have cone damage but can hit your buddies if they're too close to the target. Director's Cut included a trio of perks that reduces the chance of it happening.
    • Unarmed brawling uses the least AP per attack and has a high crit chance, but has the lowest possible damage output, even if constantly getting criticals.
    • Bladed weapons have a high crit rating, but low armor penetration and low non-critical damage.
    • Conversely, blunt weapons have good armor penetration and the highest crit damage multiplier, but a poor crit rating.
    • Heavy weapons have the highest damage output and good armor penetration, but have high AP costs, are cumbersome enough to slow down the wielder's movement speed, and have the highest chance of jamming.
  • Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight: Justified. Almost all types of powerful guns get negative modifiers to aiming at close, which leaves player with puny pistols and unwieldy shotguns at close range. The only exception is the Handgun, which is most accurate up close - the drawback being that when you're that close you could be using melee weapons instead and saving ammo.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Most enemies attack from range, so you'd better be able to as well.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe: In the first game a lot of players either accidentally or purposely shot a kid in a town that was unarmed (Bobby), his dog (Rex), and one that only had a BB gun (Red Ryder). 15 years later, Highpool still doesn't like the Rangers. It goes even further if you decide to help Agricultural Center instead - the radio operator from Highpool will instantly chew Rangers for putting Highpool always in the end. If Ag Center is left alone, they will only send desperate calls for help rather than chewing Rangers.
  • Never My Fault: Kekkabah, chief of the Topekans, is just too prideful to admit his train engine simply failed and blames Casey James and all the Atchisons for direct sabotage, starting a war between Rail Nomads.
  • New Game+: Patch number 3 added the ability to carry over created characters from a completed game to a new one.
  • New Meat: Your characters when you start, and the three conscripts in the outskirts of the Citadel.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: A humorous example. During the Raid on Highpool you take out a mortar team that is attacking the town. However you can then launch the mortar yourself. You get a transmission from the Guard Leaders screaming about what he's going to do the mortar launcher when he gets his hands on them. Or you can fix it and take out a few raiders on the road ahead.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game, being a throwback to early PC-RPGs, often challenges the player to keep a keen eye on their ammo and other resources and be extra mindful of their tactics.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Tampering with the Davy Crockett nuclear launcher in Ranger Citadel will lead to it's detonation, literally wiping out the Rangers. It also comes with a very spoiler-heavy endgame card, describing events and characters that player at this point of game couldn't even know.
  • Not Completely Useless: Director's Cut rebalances pistols, shotguns and SMGs, so rather than being simply subpar options to assault rifles, they get their own, specialised niches.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Intelligence, hands down - just like in the original. It dictates how many Skill Points you get per level and is part of the formula for Action Points. Since the Skill Points are tied with specific level of Intelligence, any value other than 4, 8 or 10 is just a waste and any value below 4 will make such character lag behind considerably, unless Intelligence is increased. It's highly advised to create all starting Rangers with at least 4 Intelligence.
    • While the need for stats is balanced throughout the game in general, Awareness and Speed are extremely valuable in battle, and you will be doing a lot of battling. Strength isn't as useful as you think because most enemies will have good range attacks.
  • Only Sane Man: Melissa of the Rail Nomads flat-out points out how ridiculous the war between them is and how everyone is too preoccupied with blood feud to realise the conflict is pointless, while both chiefs are too stubborn to let it go. She also notes the only reason for existence of two separate tribes is to have some outsider to blame when anything goes wrong. However, her solution to end this all is rather extreme.
  • Only Six Faces: Due to the nature of the game, there is a finite amount of models for characters and NPCs. Many of them are reused and countless of them don't fit the description of that person. But since the game is played from a top-down perspective, this is seldom a serious issue.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: All the PCs and RPCs from the first game. For instance, Angela Deth isn't wearing powered armor and isn't wielding a proton axe.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Rose starts with an unique gun - a flintlock tinkered to fire buckshot in really wide cone. Being a tier 1 weapon, it gets completely obsolete halfway through Ag Center. Unfortunately, since it's flagged as a personal item, Rose will never part with it, so it will clutter her inventory for the entire gamenote .
  • Player Punch:
    • Go ahead, pick in the very begining of the game which settlement will be completely destroyed and its population killed. Oh, and don't forget this choice will also have a great impact on all other communities in Arizona.
    • No matter how hard you try, you just can't save everyone. Some deaths are scripted. Some are inevetable. But the most gut-wrenching ones? All the dead bodies during random encounters, making you feel guilty for arriving just few minutes too late to save the day.
    • Doctor Tidemann, the one you could cure from his cancer, is scripted to die regardless during Matthias attack on Ranger Citadel.
  • Pocket Protector: You can find a specific Vendor Trash on the body of a guy who was shoot everywhere, but not in the place he got himself covered.
  • Population: X, and Counting: Next to the entrance to Rail Nomad Camp there is a sign stating current population. How low it will get is directly tied with players' action.
  • Practical Currency: Scrap metal is the currency of both Arizona and California now. In fact it's lampshaded when you go into Prison Valley, where the inhabitants had to exchange all their scrap for 'scrip' which is worthless outside of Prison Valley, and you can find a cache of 'Greenback' - hundreds of dollars in paper money which are completely worthless. And heavy, too. Flavor text has you asking just who this 'Franklin' guy is.
  • Press X to Die: Go ahead. Press the Big Red Button on the well maintained Davy Crockett.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Each of the four default party members from the first game appear:
  • Prove I Am Not Bluffing: The Servants of the Mushroom Cloud may or may not posses a live Titan II ICBM, but nobody is insane enough to check if that's just a bluff, while the monks do their best to maintain the ambiguity.
  • Punny Name:
    • Captain Ethil Mercaptain. Ethyl mercaptan is the odorous compound added to LPG and other flamable gases, giving them characteristic stench.
    • Dick Manners, founder of the Mannerites.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Unlike the original it's not even used for choice of restroom - there are no restrooms left.
  • Ranger: The Player Party are all Desert Rangers, the only law left that just cares about people not killing each other.
  • Random Encounters: They get really, really annoying when you have low or no Outdoorsman skill. On meta level, each skipped encounter means you've potentially left few civilians for certain death because you were in a hurry.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Pistols aren't penalised in close range, but that's their only range. They are best as a secondary weapon for Snipers - if you can spare points for training. On the plus side you'll find plenty of ammo for them.
    • Three of the companions you can pick are a raider who only wants to join you for the killing, a drunk hobo who only wants to 'live a life of danger', and an old wannabe-badass with delusions of grandeur. Unsurprisingly, none of them are team players, and require a high leadership level to stop them going rogue and wasting ammo every turn.
  • The Remnant: The Desert Rangers are the remnants of a US Army division that was in Arizona when the bombs fell. A bunch of mutants still follow Finster... Well Finster before he went insane with the Android Body.
  • Revenge Myopia: Howdy, a cowboy you can meet in The Canyon of Titan, is looking for the slightest provocation to attack Rangers. Because his brother, a thief and a murderer, was gunned down by one of the squads without a trial. His partner, Jill, instantly points this out, but that doesn't change his attitude even a bit.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: Twisted in every possible way. On one hand, combat grants the lion share of experience and you will level like crazy by just killing things. On the other, solving a problem — any problem — requires specific sets of non-combat skills or you will be simply unable to continue in most of the cases.
  • Sadistic Choice: Which town is more important - Highpool or Ag Center? You can't save both.
  • Save Scumming: The loot in most chests is randomly generated. A few bullets and useless scrap? Reload. A few tattered clothes with no armor value? Reload. A high-damage sniper rifle or heavy explosives? Woo-hoo!
  • Scolded For Not Buying: Some merchants will comment on you not making any transactions, and there's at least one randomly encountered merchant who will threaten getting into a fight with you if leave barter without buying anything.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: While not exactly a sequel, Director's Cut is considerably tougher. For starters, rangers only regain a tiny fraction of their health upon level-up, rather than being fully healed, while situational effects, along with precision strike system rebalanced combat considerably. Oh, and previously useless weapon classes got buffed, so enemies using even lousy pistols are much more dangerous now.
  • Shmuck Bait:
    • There's a shop in Rail Nomads Camp with a lot of crates and barrels full of explosives standing around. And you can use Brute Force on them.
    • There's a guy in the Ranger Citadel who's selling cheap guns on the sly. They have a 95% jam chance (as if a weapon with a 4% jam chance doesn't jam often enough).
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Played with. Shotguns have relatively short range in general, slightly better accuracy at near-point range. On the other hand, they fire a cone of uniform damage up to their Arbitrary Maximum Range, hence the tutorial box mentioning to use them at the edge of their maximum range to hit more targets with one shot.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: The Cochise AI's plan is to assimilate anyone with cybernetic enhancements, whether they've only replaced a limb or have become a full-on synthetic. Even your own party members are no exception: Rose, Lexicanum, and Vax will become possessed if they're brought into the final battle and will have to be put down.
  • Small, Secluded World: Much more present than in the first game and for a good reason. When clouds of radiation changed their patterns, Arizona became completely cut out from the outside world. Some even believe there is no outside world now. The plot begins when Radio signals from outside the cloud starts broadcasting.
    • Angela jokingly remarks that maybe the world outside is just fine and it's only Arizona that is such a hell-hole.
  • Sniper Pistol: It's entirely possible to outfit a pistol with long barrel and a scope, giving them range of medium-tier rifles, while retaining pistol stopping power.
  • Sorrowful Stutter: In the opening cutscene, General Vargas presides over a funeral for a fellow Desert Ranger, he delivers a heartfelt eulogy recalling the origins of their organization, and then promises others that "no Ranger who dies in the line of duty will... ever be forgotten", pausing before the last three words as his gaze falls on the fallen comrade's girlfriend.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Zig-Zagged. All weapons have tiers assigned to them and only by progressing the plot you can "unlock" higher tiers of equipment. However, certain mid-tier weapons remain quite effective till the very end and are almost game-breaking powerful when encountered for the first time. Unique weapons are usually complete Game Breakers and relatively low-tier - the best Energy Weapon can be gained before you will even meet first target resistant enough to feel the full potential of that particular blaster.
  • Speed Run: In earlier versions, the game could be finished in about 50 minutes via extensive glitching. It was also leading to really, really awful ending where everything that could go wrong goes even worse.
  • Splash Damage: What makes explosive so lethal and valuable. After certain point it's entirely possible to wipe entire armies via few tactically applied rockets in a single turn. Or even without starting a turn, since RPG-7 has sufficient range to just wipe your enemies before they can react.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: The game begins with you attending the 'retirement party' of Ace, one of the PCs from the last game... And you get stuck with the mission that killed him.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Zig-Zagged. While critical failures and bad aiming may lead to hitting thin air, some shots may also hit other targets by chance or by virtue of standing nearby. This actually comes in handy in burst mode when your targets are clustered - someone will be hit for sure.
  • Take That!: The first time you boot the game the menu will have a clickable notice about "Red Boots DLC, only $49.95!" Clicking it produces a window that says "Just Kidding! You didn't really think we'd have DLC did you?"
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Few better ways of ending conflict between Desert Rangers and Red Scorpion Militia will lead to such situation, with different delay for Inevitable Mutual Betrayal. With extra effort and gifted negotiator, Rangers and Militiamen may put their differences aside and turn instead into Fire-Forged Friends, bringing order to Arizona.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: The percentages listed for recovery of gun mods upon stripping a weapon are often wrong, and vastly overstate the likelihood that you'll get something useful. There were a number of complaints on this, and one member of the Dev team came on to state that everyone was wrong, it was just confirmation bias, etc. People called him out on it, he checked and it was confirmed that the coding was wrong and didn't match the tooltips. It was noted to be fixed in the next patch....which never happened.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Explosives tend to stay in your inventory for some time. They're one-time use weapons and are best saved for powerful robots and for use on groups to save ammo.
    • TNT is an exception - it's quite weak with a low range, but still counts as an explosive, so it's good for crates and fences that you're not strong enough to break.
    • In-universe the Desert Rangers have two Huey choppers on their disposal. They keep them for very, very special occasions, like a trip to California.
  • Unfortunate Names: The cook in Rangers HQ is "Hungry" Hungerford.
    Hungerford: Coulda been worse. I knew a guy once named Richard Stroker.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: It's very easy to completely break the economy by selling specific Vendor Trash to traders paying premium prices for it. This can be achieved as soon as getting inside Ranger Citadel, allowing to equip your Rangers with top gear and tons of spare ammo.
  • Used Future: Unlike first game, where Desert Rangers were presented as a military grade organization, with well-kept uniforms, standard issue equipment and things like that, here we've got a full blown Scavenger World, where even the most maintained and polished things are clearly beyond their years, everything is dusted and all machines are jury-rigged. Things like robot policemen or clothes other than rags, present in first game, are gone for good.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Father Enola of the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud will try to use Rangers as pawns to get his hands on real and operational nuke. While dialogue with him won't give any direct clue about his schemes, it's very important to read what he says after the conversation is over.
  • Vendor Trash: There are a lot of things you can pick on your way have no purpose but to provide some Flavor Text and sell for scrap. There is even a button during barter to sell items classified in-game as "junk", along with whatever you've personally marked as such.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Discussed and inverted by Vargas. He makes it clear that while brute force and a bullet can solve almost all problems that Rangers can encounter, they are also last resort.
  • We Have Reserves: Averted. Rangers, even after fifteen years of relative peace, are spread thin and can't even assemble enough squads to answer all calls. Losing your squadmates is permanent. At the same time, you get bonuses and congratulations for finding new recruits. However when you move to California you lose access to all but three of them.
  • We Have the Keys: Due to the nature of the inventory, it's entirely possible to pick locks, crack safes and hack electronics while being able to just open them. Keys and codes must be actively 'Used' on the correct safe or lock, and it's not always obvious that there is one.
    • On the other hand, picking a lock results in XP for one team-mate. Using a code or key grants higher XP to everybody in the team.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Know any better than a still working Titan II ICBM?
    • There are also a couple of special guns that give a boost to the Hard Ass skill when equipped.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: If you decide to detonate the nuke using for this either your entire squad or General Vargas, the ending narration will explicity point out how wasteful it was. Sometimes it ain't worth to make a Heroic Sacrifice with the bravest and the brightest.
  • What Does This Button Do?: The Big Red Button on the Davy Crockett nuclear launcher for a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Angela Deth will give you a quite vehement one if you try to dig up Ace's grave when she's in the party. Interestingly, you can't give one back to her when she murders an informant in Rail Nomad.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Subverted, if not outright defied. If Ralphy is part of Echo Team, you can meet his father as one of the Mad Monks. Rannel will try to reconcile with Ralphy, who will sharply chew his "dad" to cut the sappy crap about remorse and making up for lost time, since he couldn't care less about someone who was never present in his life. Hell, other Rangers can only take boy's side in the argument to further hammer all the nasty implications of every Disappeared Dad drama in existence.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Still present, but toned down when compared with the first game. First one got both completely open world design and sandbox gameplay. Thanks to changes in how radiation works and different form of narration (no longer set of paragraphs to read whenever told to), the game still is open and with countless sandbox game mechanics, but exploration is much more limited. That said, each location can be traversed in countless ways.
  • World Building: A lot of fluff regarding first game was added or filled, mostly because technology finally allows for countless descriptions and dialogues needed for it.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Pre-war dollar bills are not only worthless Vendor Trash, but also their purpose or who this Franklin guy is are completely forgotten.
  • Wrench Whack: Angela Deth starts with a unique weapon - Ace's wench. She won't part with it and it's relatively powerful early on.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: One of the junk items is a Transmorpher car that can be miraculously rearranged into a robot.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Not counting combat skills, characters can't even try to perform any of the actions without a single rank in given skill, as they lack the icon to use it. Said single rank means they are still laymen in that field.
    • Zig-zagged; any idiot can throw a grenade, but Demolitions equals being able to disarm live traps and aim artillery. Field Medic isn't surgery, it's bandaging bullet wounds. Still, you would think trained military recruits could pick up a shotgun and hit the broad side of a barn-sized fly without years of experience. There are also a handful of skills which even civilians should be able to at least attempt, such as Brute Force.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The Rangers set up their HQ in the Guardian Citadel after slaughtering everyone inside in the first game.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: The diary found around prison ends with the farmer writing it asking what are the Scorpions gonna do - shoot him? That's the final entry in the book.
  • Zeerust Canon: The original game was written and released in 1988, thus many things were designed and envisioned from The '80s perspective. Sequel stays true to that vision, even if made after experiencing The '90s first-hand. So even if the Final War came in late 90's, the world has more in common with 80's, giving intentional Zeerust - Teddy Ruxpin and Transformers toys, computer running on floppy discs (even the Computer skills use a floppy for their icon), barely any technology going beyond given time period and so on. Games consoles from The '90s can be found, including a CD-I as a rare quest item and a cache of ET games in the desert.

Congratulations, Team Echo. You've done well.
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