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Do you have a favorite merc? (JA1, JA2, Wildfire, etc..)


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Favourite? It will be difficult to choose the most favorite one, but I think Raven is relatively cheap and this is probably the best shooter (it's not about points, but about reality). Raven is great with any type of weapon, she is not too conflicting.

Raven is always on my team.

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Len - Higher experience level (7) than everyone else on AIM except Gus Tarballs (8), at half the price of Scully. Excellent combatant who starts with an assault rifle, trivializing the early battles. Also useful outside of combat:

61 Leadership - Good at talking to Arulco natives.

Teacher - Better than most at training militia.

54 Mechanical - Better than most at repairing items.

Len has the special ability of being unable to gain further skills and levels, which means he will never increase in price.

I could argue that his inability to learn wastes experience that other mercs could use, but I don't think it's important for hired mercs to become better combatants over time, because you can just replace them with better mercs instead. For example, Raven is a phenomenal sniper for her price at first--night ops, sunglasses, dexterity and marksmanship in the 90s, at less than 60% of the price of Lynx or Scope--but she eventually surpasses Lynx and Scope in price, making her just another very expensive top-tier merc, of which there are many.

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Buns - Described by AIM as a sharpshooter, with Marksmanship and Dexterity in the mid-to-high 80s, she is one of the only two AIM mercs (alongside Raven) who starts with Sun Goggles (extended vision in daylight). While Raven is clearly the better sniper (Marksmanship and Dexterity in the low-to-mid 90s, Night Ops), Buns is more useful outside of combat because she is a Teacher (Expert). She also costs less than half of Raven's price despite both starting at experience level 2, and Buns learns quickly (93 Wisdom). A good early and permanent hire, and the arrogant snob knows it, as do most players.

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On 1/31/2022 at 12:36 PM, Vlad said:

Buns

Also easily one of my favorites!

I "enjoy" the way she makes snobish remarks and her overall attitude.

Just like you said, for her cost vs. versatility, she stays incredibly useful throughout the game.

I rarely go through a game without Buns.

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On 1/31/2022 at 6:36 PM, Vlad said:

Buns

As a Swede I whole heartedly hate Buns and hire her only to have her killed in the first sector. Them Danes can keep their pølse, smørebrød and overpriced furnitures to themselves! 😂

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Barry - Being able to handle locks and traps eliminates the annoyance of liberating a sector and then finding that there are containers you cannot open. This means you want someone with the Lock Picking and Electronics skills, as well as high Explosives skill with decent Mechanical skill and Dexterity. There are only two mercs who meet all these requirements: Trevor and Barry. The main difference is in their Mechanical skill, as Trevor's starts practically maxed (99) while Barry's is a mere 44. However, Trevor is several times more expensive than Barry, which makes him impractical as an early or permanent hire, and Barry is a fast learner (91 Wisdom) so his Mechanical skill should skyrocket if he spends his non-combat time repairing items. Nails can also handle both locks and traps, but has a hard time with Electronics, and he costs more than twice as much as Barry. You could also hire Static to pick locks, and Red to handle explosives, but both of them are more expensive than Barry, and you'd always need to bring them both, which is a problem because vehicle space is limited. Barry can also easily become a good combatant--his physical stats are adequate (lowest is Agility at 72), and Marksmanship trains quickly (Barry's starts at 70, which is probably more than your IMP merc). So for a pittance you get a merc who quickly becomes a good combatant, repairs your items, and eliminates some of the most annoying situations you'll come across. It is senseless not to hire him.

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Raider - Some of the NPCs are prejudiced, like Steroid hating Russians (Ivan and Igor), and Blood hating white South Africans (Cliff Highball). It is silly and amusing, but lest you as a player believe that you are immune to such biases, the character of Raider seems designed to challenge that presumption.

Raider is a police officer with an annoying voice and an awesome wife. Nobody picks this guy as their favorite merc, and it's entirely for personal reasons. If you're just looking at his stats, he is the best leader you can hire, and a Teacher (Expert) on top of it. Nobody is better at talking to people and training militia than this guy. This is huge, because:

1. It gives you peace of mind--you know you're not missing out on peaceful ways of advancing your cause (this is true even if someone online says that you don't need the best, since you can't know if they're right).

2. It cuts down on time spent training militia, which is a huge time sink.

If you're hiring based on stats, I can't imagine a better team than Raider, Barry, and Buns. On Experienced difficulty you can afford to hire all three for a week immediately.

But when playing on Novice, even I am tempted to replace Raider with Len, whom I actually like and respect and don't envy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My team early in JA2 is Me,Fox and Shadow,i also play 1.13 exclusively

 

Silent death himself and his healer,then i lean on Dimitry for his expert throwing (knives), while stealthed,at night in camo with the rest of the team at his back in case it goes to hell,the team consists of Me,Shadow,Fox,Ira and Dimitry

Shadow for his high accuracy and suppressed weapon,Fox for being the best damned DR in my price range,Ira because i can mute her and Dimitry because he's free and also KNIVES,i micromanage them,they are the lead team in the worst of the worst sectors

I'll generally take something automatic because I'm the loosest cannon in the team and it feels like when i go frenzy mode i get more hits than misses

Shadow will usually upgrade to having a silenced FN90 and Five Seven,Fox with the extended dualies,maybe a non russian Assault rifle,Ira with a Steyr Aug and Dimitry with a shotgun,because he's dead if he's found anyway

Then there's team daylight,team daylight are pure hollywood style,Normally consisting of Red,Scope,MD and Len

Red with a shotgun,Scope covering him with a sniper rifle,MD as his entry buddy with preferably a P90 or something CQC and Len again with a Steyr Aug,FN Fal or something something assault rifle,but these are their primary weapons

Red will carry explosives (duh),Scope normally with an RPG,MD with nades and Len,Len gets a talon underslung nade launcher

I carry 3 clips of 55.6 on each going into each mission for those carrying that type of weapon,maybe a spare on a random with a lower used weight percentile

I take my mercs lives extremely seriously

 

I remember playing one of the modded campaigns sneaking through the streets at night and all hell broke loose,we were pinned behind this armcote barrier,50 or so enemies running in,my squads had swelled to 6 a peice and everyone was there,with smoke,explosives,nades and a sheer force of bullets we survived,well 9 of 12 did,Ira,Scully and Magic died that night,it felt like an absurd warzone,god it was fun

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IMP medium-range ninja - Throwing / Auto Weapons

Night Ops (Expert) seems to be the most popular choice for the IMP merc. The main appeal of Night Ops is that it makes you a better sniper by extending your range of vision at night. That it also reduces the need for sleep is just icing on the cake (so does Martial Arts). AIM has three great Night Ops snipers (Lynx, Scope, Raven), and night vision can be extended with equipment (+4 from UV Goggles).

But when you're fighting at night, you're spending most of the time controlling your ninja, as you stealthily explore the area and eliminate the easy targets. Your ninja's experience level therefore skyrockets, which means you end up paying a fortune to keep someone like Blood employed.

Blood's description on AIM reads "his ability to fling a combat knife into an enemy's neck is a sight to behold: it seems to come out of nowhere, sails an impossibly large distance, then slices through its target with unerring accuracy". Though "unerring" accuracy is an exaggeration, you'd be right to take this description as a hint that throwing knives are unrealistically good in this game. They have a range of 15 tiles, and instantly kill most unaware targets.

A silenced SMG has a range of 20 tiles, and can be used when throwing knives are not cutting it.

Throwing and Auto Weapons also happen to be useful for increasing your damage output in general (assault rifles, grenades).

Why not Night Ops for a ninja? Because seeing your target from further away can actually be counter-productive, because it switches the game into combat mode while you are still out of effective weapon range.

Why not Stealth? Because when killing unaware targets at medium range, it's enough to stay low and and move stealthily. Stealth is of greater value to melee martial artists.

Why not a melee martial artist? Because this style of combat is too dangerous unless two ninjas are working in unison (else a single failure results in grievous injury). Also, the game has a contrived stealing mechanic--you can steal items from opponents who have been knocked out but are not yet dying. These items do not drop when the opponent dies, which makes no real-world sense. So if you're going with a duo of melee ninjas, you're putting yourself into a situation of profiting from what feels like an exploit, which can spoil a game. It gets worse if you start to feel that you're wasting resources unless you rob everyone before killing them, because then you've doomed yourself to difficult combat (and then what's the point of all that money?).

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On 2/10/2022 at 7:44 PM, Vlad said:

Raider - Some of the NPCs are prejudiced....

.......

 

On 2/27/2022 at 6:37 AM, RedFox said:

My team early in JA2 is Me,Fox and Shadow,i also play 1.13 exclusively

........


Super interesting read guys.. thanks for your inputs! Love the details you shared.

Gives me a few ideas of things to try.

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Buns and Len I mostly put on off-grid militia training duty rather quickly, while Thor and Raven are almost always on my A-Team. I take Raider only bec. of Raven (and the fact they wear SWAT-gear in 1.13) and came to like Stephen, even though I always make my IMP merc the leader during the game. Strange enough, despite his good stats and multiple tries, I never warmed up to Barry.

 

Usually I look at hiring price and wisdom to choose which merc I take along, but a nice portrait helps, too 🙂

It's nice to know I can adapt enough mercs from the list well to my play style and needs and high wisdom helps with that; not that going with smart mercs is a bad choice for any reason. Only problem with that to me is that good generalists among my team tend to blend with the background more than those who stand out as individuals. I also tend to spend a lot of game time training my mercs to certain thresholds I like them to have (i.e. Medical skill of 35 - in my mind a basic paramedic). I remember playing a stealthy duo with Ira was a lot of fun. I actually like her exposition statements when your group enters a new town or POI.

I also tend to hire the more promising, but badly trained M.E.R.C.s like Flo and Gumpy simply to, well, prepare them for the real world -by training them to somewhat decent non-combat units while repairing stuff, training militia.

 

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I came to realise (about god damned time!) that I never explained why I like Ivan so much.

I have no empirical study at all to support this, but for some reason Ivan just seams to perform better than other Mercs for me.

So he's become somewhat of a lucky charm for me.

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