Jagged Alliance: Online – 10 “Survival” Tips
So, you gave Jagged Alliance: Online a try, but things are not going as planned? Do not worry, this is not the simplest or easiest Tactical Game out there, and even a Strategy veteran like myself had problems getting an easy start. So I formulated this series of Tips so that you may have an easier time starting your Merc career in Jagged Alliance: Online. While this Guide will not teach you everything there is to know about the game it will certainly help you, whether you are completely green or already experienced.
Jagged Alliance: Online – 10 Survival Tips
1. “I can’t do this!” – Your early experiences in Jagged Alliance: Online might be confusing. I personally was met with the feeling that the game will be very easy on single player, it was not. One of the essential mistakes I made was being overly persistent and bull headed when it came to the first series of missions, known as “Hell Hath No Fury”. These first serious missions expect you to kill a lot of bikers, with a very limited squad size, usually having very limited equipment and skills. You will be brutally outnumbered and for the most part unable to finish to finish the quests unscathed.
Here is what you should do when starting a game in JA:O. First of all, have a varied squad. I personally used a Commando, Scout and Sniper, but swapping the Scout for a Gunner gives you much needed firepower at short to medium ranges. Secondly, when you have a “Squad” that works well with you you should then invest in the best possible equipment. Even though most characters can be ordered in with their own equipment this will become obsolete rather quickly, which means you will have to purchase new equipment. Guns are just as important as Armor, so you should make sure that all your troops have the best available.
Taking that into account, if you are unable to finish a mission take on a different one. You can repeat missions, to get the same money/experience rewards, which means that you could level up your characters by doing other, “simpler”, quests to get the money for the equipment and the levels for the skills. You can always return to the unfinished quests and complete them later. I found that Hell Hath No Fury, especially the last mission is very difficult, so skip over it to higher level quests, and once you feel confident enough, return to it.
2. “Money, that’s what I want” – Money is what drives your company forward. No money means no mercs, means no jobs done, means no money coming in. There are a few ways to make money. Single Player missions are one way. Each mission offers you a certain cash reward, and the higher the level of the mission the higher the reward, and the “junk loot” will also be worth a pretty penny. This also includes War Zones, where you can fight for prizes, but even without that you can earn some decent cash and loot.
However, one of the simplest ways to earn money is PvP. A victorious PvP game can give you a lot of money, especially if you manage to pull it off with a “Gold Star” that will give you bonus cash and experience. At level 25 I can earn just over 16,000 on a successful “Gold Star” battle, or just 13,000 without the “Gold Star”. On lower levels that is more than enough cash, and since this is for just one battle imagine if you played a handful each day. A lost battle will still give you cash, (for me it was 3,000) so you do not leave empty handed. With the combination of Single Player Missions and PvP you can safely earn enough money to keep your company running efficiently, which bring me to my next point…
3. “Why is everything so expensive?!” – As your Mercs improve so too will your choice of weapons and armor expand. However, better equipment costs more money, but you do not have to invest in the “top notch” equipment every time it pops up.
In regards to equipment I found that buying “Common” level equipment for my Mercs on their level (for example, a Rifle that needs a Level 22 Merc for a 22 Level Merc) is sufficient for the vast majority of PvP and Single Player missions that you will face. Rare equipment is SUPER expensive, compared to common equipment, and while better you have to hold in mind that eventually you will have to buy newer equipment anyway. I rarely buy Rare equipment, and only do it when I have a Merc that I want to perform outstandingly, such as a Gunner or Sniper.
The exception to this is Honor equipment. Honor equipment does not only have a Merc level requirement, but you also need enough Honor to use it. You gain Honor through PvP matches and I found that Honor equipment is well worth the money. Honor equipment is cheaper than rare equipment but its quality is good enough to let you use it for longer than Common equipment. You may even find that Honor equipment is superior to Rare equipment, in one way or another.
In other words, buy Common equipment, and when you feel adventurous, or have a bit more cash, invest in Honor equipment for your Mercs.
4. “Why are the Mercs so expensive?!” – You see, Mercs can be hired in two ways. The “cheap” no equipment option and “Fully Geared” option. The problem is that the Fully Geared option becomes increasingly more and more expensive, almost to the level of “absurd”. The funny thing is that once you hire a Merc with equipment you then have to keep paying him the increasing “Equipment” rates. In turn, if you hired somebody without equipment you will pay around a tenth of that sum. For example, a Level 22 Scout can cost you 18,000 for two weeks, or 1,800 depending on which option you choose or chose (since increasing the contract costs you the same). So, what do you do then? I would say, do the smart thing, and hire Mercs without their equipment. Their gear gets old, you will have to buy new one anyway, and paying ten times the sum for equipment that they no longer use makes absolutely no sense.