Here are some good ideas to make your team better in battles. Trying out different classes at the same time can be enjoyable and worth a shot.
Combat Classes – A Primer
If you want to turn your not-so-perfect soldiers into a strong team early in the game, this guide can help you from the second chapter onward. The strategies and character builds mentioned here will keep you going well into the middle of the game. Don’t worry too much about the high-level perks for specific classes; you can make your soldiers into powerful fighters at lower levels by mixing and matching their combat skills.
Let’s start by talking about combat classes. Initially, your soldiers have one class, but as they gain experience and move up the ranks, you can earn promotion points. Use these points to unlock new classes, either combat or utility. Combat classes include scout, rifleman, grenadier, machine gunner, and medic. Utility classes, used on the train, include worker, engineer, cook, and doctor. Both types of classes give permanent stat bonuses as they level up, and you don’t need to equip a specific class to get its bonus; it’s always active.
Breaking down the upgrade point system, there are class points (allowing up to six classes per soldier) and attribute points (determining available classes). While soldiers may start differently, you can shape almost all of them into effective fighters. Interestingly, spreading attribute points evenly can create strong builds, as leveling up each combat or utility class you’ve unlocked gives more bonus points. Having enough base stat points is crucial for unlocking them!
Consider the combat experience your soldiers gain during missions or exploration events as a valuable resource. It helps them improve their combat skills, but like other resources in the game, it’s limited and not easy to obtain. When sending a scouting party, choose the right class to maximize their experience. If you want them to gain levels in a specific combat class, avoid making them medics. Let them wield a machine gun if that’s the combat class you want them to excel in.
When enhancing your soldiers’ attributes, prioritize distributing points according to class unlock requirements. Check the in-game character cards to know the stat points needed for each class. For instance, a soldier aspiring to be a combat medic requires at least 5 intelligence. Even if a soldier has a “slow-witted” trait, investing two points in intelligence can turn them into a capable medic.
Your soldiers have multiple classes to choose from, and it’s recommended to multi-class them for a more rewarding and easier gameplay experience. Most soldiers you encounter will have at least one combat class unlocked. Those without combat classes can gain one through experience in utility roles onboard the train. Even your original train drivers might become seasoned fighters. While there are a few “pacifists” and one medic you shouldn’t take on missions due to poor shooting skills, most soldiers can be turned into effective killing machines. Study their perks and invest your limited experience wisely.
As far as mission and world map events go, there don’t seem to be specific combat role requirements. Traits matter during scouting and scavenging, but combat classes have no impact. This means single-class squads are viable, provided you mix in abilities gained through multi-classing. For example, any soldier with at least one level in the medic class can be given healing abilities.
What Classes Should You Pick?
In my 50 hours of gameplay, I’ve discovered a few hybrid roles that excel both in and out of intense combat situations. While any soldier can perform stealth kills and shoot, some are naturally better at it. For my aggressive play style, two particular multi-class builds, accompanied by a support class, have proven to be highly efficient. Let’s delve into the details of these three builds:
This build excels at swiftly closing in on enemies for close-quarters combat, utilizing stabbing techniques. It also offers the option to execute a second foe rapidly.
Ideal for dominating ambushes and open battles, this build can also pick up wounded soldiers once the firefight subsides, providing versatility in various scenarios.
A support role that replaces the generic medic and significantly enhances the grenadier’s capabilities. This build provides valuable support on the battlefield.
In my experience, adhering to a “pure” class build isn’t optimal, as leveling a different class alongside gains valuable stat points. While some classes shine as support units with multiple useful skills, others may benefit more from specialization. For instance, if you prioritize the ability to deploy mines and throw smoke, the vanilla grenadier is valuable. However, if you only value offensive grenades, leaving the other ability slots empty is a viable choice. Each soldier can equip only four abilities and passives, necessitating sacrifices for specialization. Experimenting with the available tools is key to finding the most effective strategy. You might start by removing the ability to revive a downed soldier from most troops—an initial sacrifice with long-term benefits for your squad.
As of writing this guide, my best builds are:
The Ultimate Assassin – Sniper
At the pinnacle of combat effectiveness, we find the Scout.
Retain the observation (binoculars) skill for advanced scouting. Eliminate the revive ability and incorporate Critical Shot (the execution skill attained at level 3) for your sniper. Equip your sniper with the quick feet and camouflage passives to create the ultimate stealthy killer.
The Scout class stands out as the only combat role capable of achieving a double kill with a single move. Unlike the grenadier, which requires grouped enemies, the Scout can eliminate two adversaries anywhere within their rifle range in just 3 seconds.
Here’s how it works: Utilizing this build with a single soldier, if you encounter an isolated enemy patrol of two individuals walking side by side, you can eliminate both for the cost of a single bullet. Execute a stealth kill on the first soldier and immediately follow up by shooting the other with the Critical Shot ability, executing them on the spot. If no one else witnessed the event, no alarm will be raised. Enemies out of view of their fallen comrades will only enter “search mode.” Dispatch the two soldiers, retreat or hide in bushes, and you’re in the clear.
This tactic scales with every new member added to the team. Two snipers can handle patrols of 4 people, while three can clear entire camps of 6. With a full roster, and proper timing, up to 20 enemies can go down within 3 seconds, leaving them no time to fire their guns.
The Scout class excels at killing everything, both in and out of cover. The class ability guarantees a one-shot-kill, and unlike other combat classes, the Scout can chain executions. Execute one kill with stealth and another with a gunshot execution.
While chaining stealth kills isn’t always straightforward, the Scout excels when two enemies are too close for a single soldier to stealth-kill. Stab one enemy, and by the time the second turns around, they find the Scout ready to pull the trigger.
The Scout is the only class consistently effective against heavy machine gun nests and armored cars at a distance. Two scouts using Critical Shot will eliminate a heavy machine gun, and three shots will destroy an armored car. They can even chip away at tanks, as their vision range is shorter than that of most other enemies.
For additional versatility, consider multi-classing, giving one sniper a medic class and removing the binoculars. If you have more than two snipers, allocate the third the ability to revive and heal. All-scout squads offer an exciting and rewarding aggressive playstyle, turning any combat encounter you initiate into an ambush and a swift slaughter. Scouts dominate playthroughs with their killing proficiency and bullet economy (1 shot, 1 kill).
The Grim Reaper – Machine Gunner
When you absolutely need to unleash a storm of bullets, this class is unmatched. The primary role of the Machine Gunner is to provide heavy firepower during gunfights. The ability to establish a firing cone is the crucial feature of this class, with other abilities being interchangeable based on your needs and preferences. For instance, you can opt to specialize your machine gunner into a medic, offering revival and healing services if health tends to be a concern during missions. It’s more efficient to tend to wounds once the enemy is defeated rather than having a dedicated medic struggle with less effective pistols. If a medic is running across the battlefield for a revival, the encounter likely wasn’t set up correctly. Victory should come first; healing, second.
Position your machine gunner as the ultimate support unit when combat breaks out. Leave stealth kills to the sniper; the machine gunner thrives in robust cover, ready to dispatch any unfortunate soul who enters their deadly cone of fire. It’s a simple yet highly effective strategy: everything before the machine gun belongs to the machine gun, and challenging it might not end well for your opponents.
Next on the agenda is…
Your Friendly Neighborhood Deliveryman – Grenadier
This class is all about grenades, and the grenadier can make sure you have plenty of them. With the ability to eliminate cannon crews, heavy machine gun nests, and gatherings two blocks away, grenades are their specialty. While mines and smoke bombs are optional, the key is to focus on providing secondary support functions. Equip your grenadier with the ability to heal and revive your soldiers, doubling their utility.
For additional versatility, invest one level into the scout class and equip the grenadier with a backpack full of rocks for some lore-friendly throwing practice. The grenadier becomes a multi-functional team member, ensuring they never feel useless.
Verdict: Not a stealth killer, not a grim reaper, but possesses a remarkable throwing arm with a body attached. The grenadier is equipped with a rifle, mainly serving as something to lean on while waiting for the sniper to take the lead. While not stealing the spotlight, the grenadier has its moments—the “Rico” of the team. KABOOM? KABOOM-BOOM!
And now, let’s delve into the rest of the crew… Oh boy.
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
If you follow my recommendations and construct your squads primarily with the classes mentioned above, reaching Vladivostok will be a relatively smooth journey with minimal challenges. It might even start to feel like a power fantasy, as the snipers can effortlessly overcome carefully arranged combat challenges.
In my setup, a small squad typically consists of 4 snipers and one grenadier (who also serves as a medic). For a small but assertive squad, I might opt for 3 snipers, a machine gunner, and a grenadier. An 8-soldier squad is mostly comprised of snipers, with a single grenadier added for utility. While machine gunners can be used if desired, they are more challenging to set up properly. Snipers excel in handling quick combat encounters, allowing you to rush the enemy and conserve ammo efficiently.
What about the vanilla classes? Well, they mostly find themselves on the sidelines in this setup…
The Rifleman – Wishing for Sniper Status, but Settling for a Suicide Charge.
A straightforward Rifleman doesn’t contribute much to the team. While the bayonet charge ability allows for the elimination of a single entrenched enemy, its success is not guaranteed. Clicking on an area for the soldier to charge towards, the Rifleman hopes the enemy stays put within the designated charge zone. If the enemy moves even a little, the charge can fail. The Rifleman expects to find the target sitting inside the charge circle upon arrival. If the soldier discovers no enemy within the initial circle, they stand there, vulnerable, while the original target shoots them in the back from a new position. It’s worth noting that enemies can maneuver, making the charge ability location-specific.
Guess who could have taken out that enemy soldier, even during repositioning? The Scout. It costs only one bullet for a 100% guaranteed non-stealth kill. Charge is a loud action, leaving the Rifleman exposed to any other enemies who may have witnessed their dramatic charge. It might be akin to strapping a bomb to the soldier, achieving a few more enemy takedowns when the machine gun inevitably mows them down.
Pure Rifleman builds aren’t recommended. While viable, vanilla Riflemen are subpar. It’s advisable to multiclass them for increased effectiveness.
Grenadier – Grateful I’m Not the Rifleman, Thankful for Grenades.
The grenadier stands out as a reliable utility pick, though having more than one soldier with grenade-throwing abilities isn’t essential. Position the grenadier strategically to initiate a loud encounter with a bang, then seek cover while the rest of the squad takes charge. Grant them one level in medic and one level in scout, equip rock throw and heal abilities, and witness the creation of the ultimate support class—a versatile homunculus.
Truth be told, wiping out a group of enemies with a grenade is a crucial ability. However, it’s worth noting that the Rifleman possesses a more accurate weapon. Without grenades, the grenadier is essentially a subpar rifleman. With grenades in their arsenal, though, this class becomes a formidable force.
Medic – Yearning for a Gun.
A pure medic is a one-trick pony. While any soldier can revive a fallen comrade, the medic’s unique ability is healing. It’s crucial to note that healing during a mission won’t eliminate damage but merely provides temporary relief. The wounded soldier will still need to recover afterward.
The defensive and offensive auras are additional features that could be explored, but they rely on your soldiers sticking close to the medic. If you plan your battles wisely, soldiers won’t be huddled together behind a big boulder but instead spread out, covering flanks and flanking the enemy trying to take down your machine gunner.
Regarding the medic’s weapon, the pistol is less effective than the other guns in your arsenal. There’s no reason not to multi-class the medic. Transform your grenadier into a medic. Make your rifleman a medic. Even the machine gunner might appreciate a medicine bag – extra attention never hurts. Just don’t let your medic be a pure medic. In summary: Go team medic!
Scout – A silent plea to revisit the scout guide.
Machine Gunner – Channeling the heavy weapons guy. Further insights can be found in the machine gunner/medic section.
And that pretty much sums up the classes. The fundamental truth is that cover is paramount for all soldiers, so plan your battle positioning wisely. Staying in cover significantly reduces the likelihood of getting shot. If you eliminate enemies stealthily, you may not need cover at all.
Starting from chapter 2, post the Moscow incident, tailor your squad based on the available soldiers. Have your active combat soldiers train as workers for train upgrades since level 2 and above in that utility class provides bonus stat points. While these may not matter much to a dedicated train passenger, for a front-line soldier, the extra fitness (which increases your health stat) and dexterity will transform them into highly efficient killing machines.
As a bonus tip, consider having your top soldiers train in worker and cook classes back at the train. This yields significant stat bonuses. You might have begun with a disparate crew of war veterans, but by journey’s end, you’ll have an elite squad of PTSD-riddled demigods capable of shoveling tons of coal, cooking goulash, and executing 360 no-scopes on enemies, all before administering med-bags to the horror of their comrades.
Good luck out there, soldiers! If you have any other topics you’d like covered, feel free to let me know in the comments. This guide is a general tips and tricks compilation, so I don’t expect to expand it.
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