Procyon's Guide to Character Management

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So, you have participated in some events, driven in some scouts, and you just lost your leader and best character with leadership skill 92, and you are frustrated. How do you develop these characters to any reasonable level and keep them alive? This guide gives some basics for establishing a hierarchy of characters that may help to alleviate your frustration a bit and give you a good base of characters to play with rather than always waiting for your 1 "good" character to return from his last scout before you can go out again.

Good characters are expensive. Sure you can recruit them for a pittance whenever you like, but they are one of the only resources in the game that, once developed, can only be replaced by time. Rare weapons and vehicles can be pillaged or purchased, but characters cannot, so keeping your characters alive is of utmost importance, even to the detriment of your other assets. I encourage you to always have the safety and well being of your characters in mind as you make your way into the Evan wilderness.

This is only one of a variety of strategies you might come up with for effective character management, but is designed to give the new player a template of ideas that can be modified to their own play style and risk tolerance level. If you play more or less often, then weekly training may have a greater or lesser influence. If you grow exceptionally attached to your characters, or find it funny and exciting when their limbs get blown off, you may want to be more or less conservative than this guide may suggest. Experiment and share what works for you, but most of all, have fun!

Goals

If you plan on developing your characters to any significant level, first and foremost, you must have a goal in mind for the individual characters and plan the use or abuse of your characters around their specific goals. The goal for most gangers should be, above all, to stay alive and risk death only to achieve secondary goals of value. This means, before any event, be it a travel, a scout, or a race, determine why you are going on this event. Each event invites the untimely demise of its participants and you must be prepared to accept this possibility. Weigh the possible gain against the possible loss before going on the event and ensure that the reward outweighs the risk for your tolerance level. Always remember though that fun is a reward unto itself. A good prioritization of goals might be:

  1. Stay Alive
  2. Steal rare items from pirates
  3. Train my characters through use
  4. Adjust my inventory between towns and camps
  5. Steal needed equipment from pirates
  6. Earn a much needed profit

If your goal for this event is simply to "have fun", you might think twice about using your best character in a poorly planned, dangerous mission. Perhaps a new recruit might be appropriate in this instance.

Types of Events

Since we have some goals in mind, we should identify which events we might like to participate in and what we might expect to achieve out of these.

In Town Events

These events include Races, Death Races, Combats, and pedestrian events. They come in a couple different flavors: Leagues, Pro events and standard. The main thing we can hope to achieve in these events is income, fun, character training and recognition. The income is fairly small, as is the training, and we are not going to be training scouting, first-aid or mechanics here. Therefore, unless the fun factor or notoriety goals are paramount, we should probably reserve these events for lower level recruits or specialized squads designed solely for these events. Risking our top scout in a Death Race is probably not the wisest decision.

My main focus for these events is leagues and ladders, since they have the greatest return, if only in recognition. I allocate dedicated racer, death racer and handgunner squads for Race, Death Race and pedestrian leagues, use my scouting squads for combat leagues. My Death Race league characters are normally made up of my permanently injured characters who are missing an eye or a limb, since the mortality rate in such events tends to be very high.

Scouts

Scouts are the bread and butter of the game. The returns are high in both monetary and skills training, but the risks are also high. We should focus our efforts on creating viable teams to take advantage of the rewards of scouting by minimizing the risk.

Inventory Management Traveling

Perhaps we have decided that a certain character should be moved to Elmsfield. Perhaps we need to get our 3.2L V8 to camp to repair it. These trips are critical to the smooth operation of our gang, and completion of the mission is its own reward. However, we cannot expect mechanics or gunnery training to come out of these events, nor should we expect monetary gain. Squads should be selected that will maximize survivability, such as scouts and medics.

Mission Travel

The monetary rewards for mission travels are typically low, and these travels have the same caveats as Inventory Management Travels. All out combat will be rare and we will likely be running away. Therefore, I typically will allocate only my lowest level characters accompanied by a good scout to such travels for training purposes unless the fun factor rewards are worth it, such as with narrative missions.

Basic Equipment

You will have to walk home one day. The pirates have looted your vehicles and sent your characters roaming in the wilderness. Unarmed, this situation is certain death for all involved. Even a single unarmed character in your foot-squad can mean death for the entire squad as you may not have the time to react to the onslaught of beasties that roam the wilderness in search of fresh ganger flesh to nibble on.

The Rifle is your best defense. Every single character should have a Rifle. beyond that, experiment to your hearts content. The Rifle is the most versatile weapon a pedestrian has and is a good defense against anything that might threaten your naked pedestrian. Don't leave home without one on every character. Rifles can be purchased occasionally in the market in Somerset either with or without hero points, but likely you will need to buy some from other players to get a reasonable supply. Triferus: Although useless against vehicle armor, Shotguns are quite effective against most critters and can be a less expensive alternative when funds are tight. More information can be found under Pedestrian Weapons.

Tactics in Events

Tactics for the most part are outside the scope of this guide. However, there are a couple of things you can do in an event that will greatly increase the survivability of your characters.

Resign early and often. If you are in a town event, and feel that the odds have turned against you and the risk of continuing outweighs the benefit of winning, or winning has become highly unlikely anyway, by all means resign. Stop firing all of your weapons and resign immediately. Then, get out of the way of oncoming traffic. The AI is very forgiving in town and will not fire on a resigned player unless you fire first, at which time they will devastate you for griefing, so be sure not to fire. Find a nice quiet corner of the arena or track to hide in and wait out the clock. You have lost nothing but your pride and your gangers will live to compete another day.

If you are in the wilderness, and you don't like the odds, or just don't feel right about it, offer a truce. The enemy may not accept it, but it doesn't hurt to ask! If the odds are starting to go against you and your truce is declined, consider surrendering your vehicles. If all of your characters are armed with rifles, the odds of surviving a critter encounter is very good. Remember, your characters are worth a lot more than your vehicles, so by all means walk away if you don't like the odds.

Most of all, learn to play well. Go on group scouts with experienced players rather than scouting alone and learn all you can about how to win encounters. Learn how to use the terrain to your advantage, learn how to evade the enemy and get away, and learn how to play to your strengths and the enemy's weaknesses.

Ganger School

A good idea to get your characters skills quickly, while maintaining relative safety is to have a character development plan. Somerset makes an excellent base for a ganger "school" where gang members train up before venturing out into the wild wild south. Below is my own system for organizing such a school which aims to maximize the interplay of the different character skills for maximum survivability.

Somerset is the base of operations for the school. All new gang members are recruited from the Somerset tavern and begin their life in Somerset. Initially I recruit 3 gang members to serve as the faculty of the school. I judiciously use tags to help identify the respective jobs of the gang members. I always utilize training centers if they are available, since all of my gang members are destined for either greatness or glorious death. My first 3 recruits are:

  • Faculty Mechanic - set training to Mechanic
  • Faculty Medic - set training to First Aid
  • Faculty Scout - Set training to Scouting

These gang members will be used to keep the new recruits alive through their training, since new gang members will have low Scout and Medic skills. The Mechanic holds a special place, and I am most interested in training leadership.

The primary difference between faculty members and other gang members is the specialisms they choose. All faculty chooses "Eye of the Hurricane" as their courage specialism, to help them train courage in the new recruits.

Mechanics form the backbone of the ganger school, being in this system the longest lived characters with the safest jobs. When a faculty mechanic reaches a level 100 leadership, he will specialize in "motivator" and will go into temporary retirement and is replaced via a promotion as described below. Since a motivator aids in the training of all skills in the town they reside in, they are extremely valuable to have in every town where you have a contingent of gang members. Since mechanics are the only skill which has other passive qualities, the mechanic is chosen to specialize as the motivators for the gang. Motivator Mechanics, during retirement, continue to train mechanics until they cap, and choose the only specialty which they can use while participating in no events: Engine Tuning.

Scouting faculty members, upon reaching a leadership skill of 100, specialize in recruiter. Since only a single recruiter is useful game-wide, this job naturally falls to the faculty scout.

Medic faculty members specialize in field first aid, since their primary purpose is to keep new recruits alive during scouting events. For leadership specialization they choose combat psychologist, since the other specializations are handled exclusively by the scout and mechanic, and new recruits will have low courage and need the support of the medic to avoid demoing early.

Squads

I then organize my scouting gang members into squads; My 'A' squad, my 'B' squad, etc.. Since most staple cars early in the game have a crew component of 3, my squads each contain 3 gang members: A Medic, A Mechanic and a Scout. Scouting with a single car is dangerous, so I generally will scout with 2 cars, each car containing a single squad, which means at minimum I am going to have to recruit 6 more characters, 2 each trained in First Aid, Scouting and Mechanics. This ensures that every car has a decent medic in it, and every scouting event has a decent scout. My scout is always my driver, with my mechanic and medic filling in as gunners. Since my characters are always using driving and gunnery skills, they tend to train up in those skills quickly in on the job training, so I don't use weekly training to level up those skills until their primary skill has capped.

Additionally, I use specialty squads. I recruit a squad of 3 handgunners used exclusively for pedestrian combat and paintball events, and I recruit 1 driver in each town that has a race track, to be used in races. The handgunners are moved from town to town to participate in the various pedestrian leagues, and mortality tends to be high in this squad.

Try to get close to the maximum number of characters you can have. Anticipating your future character needs and recruiting them early rather than later allows them more time to train in the training center before being put to work. Once you have your first motivator mechanic, you should be able to keep 45 characters on hand. That is enough for a squad of 3 handgunners, a racer in every town, your faculty and 10 squads. Try to recruit with your free character every 5 days, as this allows you better chances at "talented" characters. Currently "churning and burning" works, where you can pay $1000 to hire a new character, and then immediately fire them if they are not to your liking. I prefer to keep only those characters with strength, dexterity and speed all over 50, or "talented" characters, those whose highest skill starts above 20, and fire the rest. Before firing, I steal their handgun to help offset the cost.

Promotions

In Somerset, if any of my scouts or mechanics gain a higher leadership skill than my faculty members, which is below 100, they are promoted to faculty and the faculty member becomes a scouting member. Above 100, the faculty member has already been specialized, so they have achieved job security. A faculty member Mechanic also gains job security when their Mechanic skill has reached 50, since they will eventually be motivators and they have trained engine tuning, a specialism that is not needed in scouting squads. If any squad medic achieves a leadership level higher then the faculty medic, they get promoted to faculty medic regardless of the leadership level of the faculty medic. This is because both field and faculty medics take "combat psychologist" as their leadership specialization, so there is no discrepancy. Promoting the higher level leaders to faculty helps keep the new recruits leadership level down to allow motivators to continue to be trained.

There are also promotions between squads. My 'A' squad is always composed of my best scout and my best medic. My 'B' Squad is always composed of my second best scout, and my second best medic, and likewise for the rest of my squads.

Mechanics are a bit different in how they are promoted. Scouting mechanics have 2 very useful specializations; salvaging and jury rigging. My "odd" squads only contain jury rigging mechanics, and my "even" squads only contain salvagers. Since I will normally send out 2 squads on a scout, this ensures that I have a top notch jury rigger and a top notch salvager in the event, and I do not have to split the specialization between the 2 skills resulting in a lower overall level of specialization. Promotions therefore of mechanics once they have achieved a level of 50 are only between even or odd squads.

Sometimes a character caps their primary skill very low. In these cases, the ganger will likely end up being passed in skill level by the characters below them. When I find a capped character has been demoted back to Somerset, I will decide to use them for another purpose, such as PvP events.

Character Selection for Events

When going on a scout, I select 2 squads where all of the gang members have a 100% activity level. If both squads have mechanics over 50, I choose 1 even and 1 odd squad so that I have a jury rigger and a salvager. I then replace members in the lowest level squad with faculty members with the following rules:

  • If the highest level scout has a scouting level lower than the faculty scout, I replace the lowest level scout with the faculty scout.
  • If the highest level medic has a first aid level lower than the faculty medic, I replace the lowest level medic with the faculty medic.
  • If the character with the highest level leadership in the scout has a lower leadership than the faculty mechanic, I replace the lowest level mechanic with the faculty mechanic.

These rules ensure that newer squads will get a higher quality scout and medic participating in the scout, which greatly aids their survivability. Additionally, it helps train up the faculty mechanic where possible which will become the next generation of motivator.

For travels, I choose the lowest level squads and do not use faculty members. Faculty members always remain in Somerset.

Moving out of Somerset

Eventually, your squads will be skilled enough to make the move out of Somerset to a new town. I set Elmsfield as my first goal. My criteria for moving to Elmsfield is:

  • My 'A' scouting squad contains a Scout of level 50 or above.
  • Both my 'A' and 'B' squads have mechanics and medics with gunnery and large gunnery skills of 40 or above.
  • My 'C' and 'D' squads have Scouts of level 30 or above and their mechanics and medics have gunnery and large gunnery skills of 30 or above. This ensures that the top squads are training their replacements in Somerset before moving on.
  • There is a motivator of at least level 1 in Somerset.
  • I have another motivator of at least level 1 to move to Elmsfield.

Once I have met the above goals, I can load my 'A' and 'B' squads into a caravan and move them to Elmsfield. This caravan should include 2 scouting vehicles, so that I have something to scout in once I get there, my motivator, my squads and most likely a fuel truck needed to provide sufficient fuel to make the trip.

I use the same criteria to move to other towns, with progressively higher requirements:

  • For Gateway I require a scout of level 75, and gunnery skills of 50.
  • For Sarsfield and Texan I require a scout of level 100 and gunnery skills of 75.
  • For the other towns, I require a scout of level 125 and gunnery skills of 100.

In each case, I ensure a motivator is available to move with the squads into the new town and replacement squads of the appropriate skill level are available in the old town. By delaying my move until all of these requirements are met both aids in the survivability of my characters in their new town, and delays my move allowing for additional training time above and beyond the minimum requirements of my squads. For example, if my replacement squads 'C' and 'D' are not ready to move into Elmsfield when my 'A' and 'B' squads are ready to move into Gateway, delaying my move until my 'C' and 'D' squads are ready gives my 'A' and 'B' squad more training in Elmsfield where the risk is lower, increasing their survivability and curbing my natural impulsiveness.

Sometimes however, I am in the mood for a very close, challenging battle. Rather then risk my premium gangers and equipment, I will transfer my one-legged gangers and my lowest level recruits to the next town I plan to move into and have them scout in whatever they can scrounge. I don't get too attached to these gangers and they have some very exciting and knuckle-biting scouts.

Management of a Global Evan Gang

Once my gang has moved beyond Somerset, I can choose to run events at any time, in any city or camp where I have representation. There is some final bookkeeping I do to maintain my strong, now global gang.

Once I have motivators of level 1 in every town I am in, and 1 ready to move into the next town I plan on, I am no longer interested in only training my faculty mechanic in Somerset to level 100 leadership. I continue past 100 to level 200, at which point I choose motivator level 2 and place him in Somerset to hasten the training of those that will replace the higher level gang members who die gloriously in the southern regions. My old Somerset motivator then comes out of retirement and begins training leadership to 200, at which point they will replace the level 1 motivator in the next most frontier town. This cycle continues until every motivator is level 2, then starts anew.

When a character dies, a promotion needs to be made in the ranks of characters. This will likely result in a fair bit of shuffling around as characters travel to their new destinations, providing good scout training for a lucky low level gang member.

Drug addictions in Somerset are ignored, as the gang member is not yet skilled enough to warrant a trip to Elmsfield. However, if a drug addiction develops further out in the frontier, the addict is moved to Elmsfield to undergo rehabilitation, where they take the place of the character in Elmsfield who is getting promoted to fill their open position. For this reason, I always maintain scouting squads in Elmsfield, even though I may choose not to have a presence in some other towns. Since I will consistently be cycling addicts to Elmsfield, I want the addicts to have something to do in between AA meetings rather than just be dead weight on the gang.

Characters who lose a limb or an eye are treated as characters 10%, 15% or 25% less skilled as they otherwise were. If they are no longer qualified for their position, or another character can fill their position at a higher effective skill, they become dedicated death racers or camp mechanics.

When a character becomes capped in their primary skill, it is time to learn a secondary one. For scouting squad mechanics and medics, I choose to train their lowest level gunnery skill, which will probably be ballistics or handguns. In the case of scouts, I train driving before gunnery skills, since they are typically the ones behind the wheel.

Keeping Track of it All

You might be thinking about all of the Bookkeeping such a system entails, however there is really very little and all of this can be done on the client website. I use the character "Tags" feature, and the ability to sort by tags. All of my squads have the tag which is their squad level, "A", "B", "C", etc.. and their position "Sct", "Mch", "Med". This gives me character tags like "A,Sct" or "B,Med". For racers and motivators, I simply give them the tags "1,Race" and "1,Mot". For Faculty, I give them "1,FA,<position>" so they are "1,FA,Sct" or "1,FA,Med", etc. The "1" prefix ensures that they sort outside of the sorts for squads, but you can use any prefix you like, or use "1,Mot" for level 1 motivators, "2,Mot" for level 2 if you like. Then, on my character screen I can simply click on "Tag" and all of my squads get sorted together, my racers, my faculty, etc.. No bookkeeping or sticky notes involved.