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August 13, 2007

I Restarted Again « Jagged Alliance »

Geez, I have no idea how many times I've restarted.

The point this time is to maybe try out some different Mercs.

The last few re-starts featured attempts to get Vince more quickly and not bother with Flo. It looks like the first is difficult to do, the second idea is a good one. You just waste too much time getting Flo up to speed, even as a trainer. She does eventually become equal to most of the others in level and Marksmanship, but only about the time you get to the Omerta/Meduna endgame.
Even then, she is still quite deficient in Health, Strength, Dexterity, Agility.

I think Shank may be worthless for the same reason. Dynamo is a good lock-picker, though, and picks up Marksmanship pretty quickly, so I'll let him stick around.

But I'm beginning to think it isn't worth it to recruit Miguel and Carlos. Sure, they're free...but by the time you take 5 villages, all that is left is Omerta and Meduna. Miguel is level 6, which is good, but only 88 Marksmanship. He also has good Leadership, but the village militias should already be all trained up. So what's the point. And Carlos is a Level 4 guy with Marksmanship in the high 60s and no significant redeeming strengths.

Whereas, I've learned that I like a number of different mercs. The problem is earning enough cash early in the game to have a credible force. But I've figured out how to do it.

"Freebie" mercs:
Yourself, Ira, and Maddog can all be obtained within the first 36 hours, with Dmitri by early day 3. If you get your own merc with martial arts, then he goes to San Mona to participate in the Ultimate Fighting bouts, and right after he wins one the first night, you send him down to Estoni (to increase in Level/Marksmanship on the way down, to pick up the bonus equipment like Compound 18 and bipods from Jake), and you can recruit Maddog then.

You get Vince after you get something like 30 militia trained in Cambria and a high loyalty percentage (I think 80%, but it may be 90%), usually after finding Joey in San Mona.

Then you have to stick with the hires until you can get Dynamo and Shank from Tixa.

For hires, I start off with:
Barry (need him for locks)
Igor and Buns (for combat ability while everyone else improves)
MD (To pair with Ira for training, and to give him a chance to start improving his Marksmanship early, and any healing if necessary)
Buzz (to get a longer range weapon, plus excellent combat ability, gives her an early chance to improve her atrocious Dexterity).
Buzz gets hired for one day. I used to hire Shadow and after I rescued Maria and win $15k from the bouts, I was able to extend his contract another 2 days, by which time I had enough to extend a week; by the end of the week (with a few extra Ultimate Fighting bouts and selling weapons), I could get him for long-term while still extending some of the other, cheaper mercs. But with Buzz, hiring her for one day is far cheaper than Shadow, and although I haven't done the math, it may be possible to get to the 2-week extended contract by day 2 or 3. That will just leave more cash for other hires.
I hire Igor, Barry and Buns for 1 week each; I get equipment for Buns and Barry, but Igor has to grab guns to arm himself.
With this set, there is enough to hire MD for a full 2 weeks; but it isn't worth it to purchase his equipment; you get enough med kits from Ira and the airstrip at Drassen.

As soon as possible, I hire Fox (keep her separate fro Buns!), Wolf, Spider, and Dr. Q.

Counting the freebies, that's already 14 of the 18 mercs you can have! So you can see that keeping Shank, Miguel, and Carlos fill up your slots with less useful, less fun mercs. I still haven't decided to dump Dmitri or not. His low Dexterity and forgetfulness is irritating...but his Marksmanship starts at a respectible 78, and he's good with throwing knife. I'll probably see how good he is by the time the numbers get tense.

I still want to try hiring Raven and Sidney. They have Wisdom in the high 70s, so they won't learn as fast as the others I try to hire (my original rule was: no hires of anyone with less than 85 Wisdom...but I ignored that rule for Fox because of her high Dexterity, training skill, and ambidexterity which made her deadly with two MAC-10s...but now Vince has all that, plus amazingly high Wisdom to help him rapidly overcome atrocious Marksmanship (starts in the 30s)). Their Marksmenship is good enough to not worry about their advancement speed.

That's 16.

But other mercs I want to hire include Shadow, Thor, Stephen, Colby, Danny, Victoria. I like Shadow. Danny is arrogant, but quick. Thor and Stephen are awesome, too. But that's 6 Mercs when I only have room for 2. Do I skip Sidney or Raven? Avoid Wolf? I thought of skipping Fox, just because she and Buns don't get along. Both Fox and Buns are weak, get tired easily. Buns is not as good with medical...but she starts good with guns, and is an Expert Trainer. I don't want to skip Fox because she and Wolf work well together, but thinking it through, I guess I'll have to. And then I'll have to choose one between Thor, Stephen and Colby. Victoria will probably wait to see if I want to dump Dmitri or not.

So without Fox, I can choose 3, and I guess it will be Danny, Shadow, and Thor. I'll report on who I hire as I do so. The money shouldn't be an issue, because in the last iteration, I had my Merc hires maxed out with at least 13 day contracts by Day 9. Money no longer becomes an issue at that point, because your mines outpace what you spend on contracts, especially with selling stuff and the fighting bouts. Before, money would be tight until Day 16 or so, sometimes Day 20. But I've got it worked out now. It's all about extending contracts before people level up.

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