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Best and Worst Wasteland 3 Quirks EXPLAINED

If you’re wondering which Wasteland 3 Quirks are worthwhile and which you shouldn’t bother with, this is Wasteland 3 Quirks Guide is the guide for you.

If you’re playing Wasteland 3, you’re probably going to be spending a lot of your time on the character creation screen. There you can carefully plan out your own special character who will take the game by storm.

Among the choices you have in the character creation process is a Quirk. In Wasteland 3 Quirks are special bonuses that also come with significant negative effects. If you’re just starting the game, you may want some insight into which Wasteland 3 Quirks are really good, which ones aren’t as good as they seem, and which ones are downright bad.

This Wasteland 3 Quirks Guide will give you the rundown on every Quirk available in Wasteland 3.

Blunderer – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks blunderer
  • Melee Damage Bonus +15.0%
  • Critical Chance -50%

Blunderer is generally not a worthwhile Quirk. If you’re going to be using it, you’ll be using it for a Melee character, and sacrificing basically your entire ability to score critical hits for +15% melee damage is just not a good tradeoff, especially considering some melee special moves are specifically focused on crit.

Melee in Wasteland 3 is generally all about hitting multiple times with fairly low AP, medium/low damage moves. Crit is tremendously valuable, and there are plenty of other ways to increase melee damage.

I cannot imagine a situation where you would ever want to take this.

Bop Bag – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks bop bag
  • Armor +6
  • Combat Speed -0.4

It’s a better choice than Blunderer, but not by much. The armor isn’t that significant, but the combat speed also isn’t that significant. Ultimately I’d say you’re losing more than you’re gaining with this perk purely because you’re giving up offense for defense.

However, you’re not giving up much offense for much defense. I suppose this could be a worthwhile perk to use on a medium-range character, like a Small Arms or Assault Weapon character… if you’re not interested in a better Quirk and are just deciding between this perk or nothing.

Circus Freak – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 circus freak
  • Combat Speed +0.4
  • Crit Resistance +25%
  • Evasion -10%
  • Detection Time -1.0 Seconds

This Quirk is actually fairly decent. Detection time is pretty much a complete non-issue, so essentially you’re getting 0.4 Combat Speed (which increases how many spaces your character can move per action point) and 25% Crit Resistance at the expense of 10% evasion. You’re definitely getting the most out of that deal. It’s a fairly nice bonus for a melee character.

This Quirk makes your character look like a clown permanently throughout the game so… you might want to consider that.

Death Wish – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks death wish
  • Cannot wear armor of any kind
  • Action Points +3

This Quirk is one of the better choices, especially on a Sniper. Snipers don’t get attacked often, so the defensive benefits from armor don’t get much use. Additionally, Sniper shots require 6 AP.

At full Coordination, you only get 11 AP, so you can’t take 2 shots every round with a Sniper unless you take this Quirk or you equip a +1 AP utility that you get about 2/3rds of the way through the game.

The thing to keep in mind is that armor has a bunch of passive bonuses. For example, there’s a helmet that’s great for Snipers that has +15% Crit Chance. So you’re missing on that as well.

If you’re planning on making a Sniper, you should definitely give them either this Quirk or the Sadomasochist Quirk.

Doomsday Prepper – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks doomsday prepper
  • Cannot read Skill Books
  • Status Effect Resistance +35%

I wouldn’t take this Quirk. Generally you end the game around level 25 and you can have 3 full skill lines. Getting the last point in a skill line costs 6 skill points, so this Quirk is costing you 18 skill points, AKA 6 levels of skill points.

35% status effect resistance is nice, but it’s not worth 18 skill points.

Lone Wolf – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks lone wolf
  • Leadership has no benefits on you
  • Initiative +20%

Frankly, it’s irrelevant how bad the downside of this Quirk is, because Initiative is almost completely worthless. If the downside was just a mild inconvenience, this Quirk wouldn’t be worthwhile.

Initiative allows your character to move before enemies if the enemies discover your party and start the fight. Frankly, if you have the various speech skills in your party and you have your ranged characters start fights with surprise attacks, you should have no need for Initiative.

That said, the loss of Leadership (+10% Hit and various other buffs) is a fairly significant downside. I wouldn’t touch this Quirk with a ten foot pole.

Medical Marvel

wasteland 3 quirks medical marvel
  • Cannot be revived during combat
  • Con per level +5

In my experience, if you’re playing on normal difficulty, your strength-based high armor characters rarely, if ever, die in combat, even on difficult fights. They don’t get one-shot and if you have someone with even mediocre First Aid skill, you can heal them to full whenever you want for a measly 3 AP. So I don’t see the downside as being that big of a deal. On normal difficulty. On high difficulties, I absolutely wouldn’t go near this Quirk.

That said, the problem I have with this Quirk is the same reason I don’t see much of a problem with the downside. If your strength-based characters already don’t die often, what possible use could giving them more HP have?

There’s also currently a bug in the game where if a character with this Quirk dies with a damage-over-time effect, they can’t be revived even out of combat. Yikes. Stay away from this one.

Mime – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks mime
  • Detection Time +2.0 Seconds
  • Con -10
  • Throwing Range -0.5M

I mean, Detection Time is not worth much, but the downsides are also fairly insignificant. The difference between picking this Quirk and picking No Quirk is pretty minor.

This Quirk makes your character look like a mime, so pick this one if that’s what you want. That’s the real effect here.

Poindexter – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks poindexter
  • +1 bonus Skill Point every 2 level-ups
  • Con -8
  • Con per level -3

To be honest with you, I kind of like this one. Like I mentioned, you tend to end the game (on average) at level 25, which means this Quirk translates into -83 Con and +12 skill points. If you have a mid-range character or a long range character that isn’t getting hit regularly, that’s essentially 12 skill points for free. Not bad.

Two things you should keep in mind if you’re going to pick this Quirk up. First, if you don’t have at least two points of Strength, your character will eventually perma-die by achieving a negative health total around level 15. Second, it seems like you don’t get the skill points retroactively on character creation, so unless you’re putting this on one of your two starting characters, you don’t get the full benefit.

Prospector – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks prospector
  • Occasionally discover valuable gold nuggets while digging
  • Quick slots -1

Prospector is an alright choice. You’ll probably get about an extra $6000-$10000 total during the course of the game. It’s not necessary. If you have someone with full Barter, you’ll not only have no money problems, but you’ll be extravagantly wealthy if you’re not constantly blowing your money.

However, even though its benefit is just some extra convenience, the downside is almost non-existent. -1 Quick Slots doesn’t matter for any character except potentially your First Aid user.

If you don’t really want a Quirk at all, you might as well just pick this one.

Pyromaniac – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks pyromaniac
  • 15% chance to catch on fire when using explosives
  • Fire damage bonus +25%
  • Explosive damage bonus +25%

Frankly, the downside is nothing. Not only is the chance relatively low and not only is being on fire not hugely damaging to begin with, there are plenty of armor pieces that increase fire resistance that are tailor made to make this downside as insignificant as it can possibly be.

It should be noted that Flamethrowers count as explosives for the purposes of this Quirk. However, again, setting yourself on fire is not a big deal.

If you’re making a Flamethrower or Explosives specialist, take this Quirk. It’s a no-brainer.

Sadomasochist – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks sadomasochist
  • Receive +33% damage
  • Melee damage bonus +33%
  • Ranged damage bonus +33%

This is probably, all things considered, the best general-use Quirk available. Unless you’re a melee character in heavy armor, you’re not going to be taking a lot of hits anyway, and +33% damage is no joke.

Generally this is great for Assault Weapons users and Snipers, since they tend to be in the safest positions during most fights. For those characters, you’re probably deciding between this and the other go-to Quirk.

For Assault Weapons users, you’re probably deciding between this and Serial Killer. The choice there is an extra attack per round vs. +33% damage on all attacks. Personally, I think the damage is better because it saves you ammo, but attacking multiple times is more fun.

For Snipers, you’re probably deciding between this and Death Wish. The choice is really between not having 2 attacks on the first round until you finish Aspen (2/3rds of the way through the game) vs. being stronger late-game with armor and +15% crit. So, do you want to be stronger at the start or at the end?

Serial Killer – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks serial killer
  • Gain +3 AP for each kill in combat (once per turn)
  • Action Points -1

This is a pretty good Quirk on most characters. All you have to do is kill one enemy every 3 rounds to break even. On most damage-oriented characters, that shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish. The main downside is really that once you’ve spent all your AP, 3 AP doesn’t tend to be enough to do anything.

Where this skill really shines is on Assault Weapons users who can combine the effect with their level 10 weapon skill, which does almost exactly the same thing, in order to get 6 bonus AP every round, which is downright beastly.

Overall one of the better Quirks for sure.

Two-Pump Chump – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks two-pump chump
  • Start combat with +2 AP for the first 2 turns
  • After the first 2 turns, lose -1 AP and -15% Hit Chance for 6 turns

Two-Pump Chump isn’t a great Quirk. It’s not as bad as it first seems, frankly, because combat typically lasts only 2-4 turns, and by the 3rd and 4th turn you’re probably banking AP from the first two turns anyway.

On the other hand, +2 AP isn’t enough to do anything except get an extra attack for a Sniper, in which case you should really take Sadomasochist or Death Wish instead.

It’s just underwhelming overall. I’d skip it.

Varangian Blood – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks varangian blood
  • When an ally is Downed in combat, enter Berserker Rage, gaining +100% Critical Chance and +3 AP for 1 turn
  • After Berserker Rage has ended, -4 AP for the next 2 turns

Allies tend to get Downed a lot, especially since you’re stuck dragging Lucia around for most of the game, so this could have been a really interesting Quirk. On paper, it’d be nice for a Brawling character, who could get a lot of damage out of +3 AP and +100% crit chance for a turn.

Whether this Quirk is good or not really depends on how it works and, unfortunately, right now it doesn’t work. At all. It never activates.

If it goes off every time an ally is downed and can reactivate multiple times per fight to offset the penalty, it’d be great for a Brawling character. Otherwise, trash. Currently, because it does nothing, don’t pick it.

Waste Roamer – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wasteland 3 quirks wasteroamer
  • Resistance to Bleeding, Poison, Shock, Burning & Frozen +100%
  • Experience bonus -15%

Waste Roamer can be one of the best Wasteland 3 Quirks for a tanking character. It’s great on a high strength, high armor character because it makes them practically unstoppable and unkillable.

If you have two tanking characters, it’s great to have on one of them, because as far as I know, there’s only one set of Verchitin Armor (the best armor) in the game, so it’s great to have extra resistances on your other character.

The Experience drawback is definitely a drag, but just to put that in context, at the end of the game most characters will be level 24-25, and the character with this Quirk (if they got it at level 1) will be level 23. It’s not that bad.

Way of the Squeezins – Wasteland 3 Quirks

wayofthesqueezins Best and Worst Wasteland 3 Quirks EXPLAINED
  • Damage +50% while drunk
  • Melee damage bonus -20%
  • Ranged damage bonus -20%

On paper, this is the best out of all the Wasteland 3 Quirks, especially for a melee character. However, in practice, what you’ll find it managing this Quirk takes a lot of your time and attention and the bonus damage is not as advertised. You have to constantly drink alcohol (like, after every fight), you have to manage the hangovers from drinking.

If you’re willing to do all the micromanaging involved in keeping your character at peak drunken performance, this is an alright Quirk, especially considering that alcohol itself provides buffs to melee damage. The more you think about it, the more it’s not really worth the trouble except on a melee character.

One thing you should be aware of is that the +50% damage doesn’t replace the -20% damage, so when this buff is active it’s really +20% damage all things considered, because of the way math works. (100*0.8=80. 80*1.5=120. 120=100*1.2). Unless you’re a melee character, then it’s +40% damage thanks to the Rowdy buff that alcohol already gives normally (again, because of the way math works. 80*1.75=140. 140=100*1.4).

That about covers it when it comes to Wasteland 3 Quirks. Be sure to check out the Main Page or the Game Guides section for more gaming content, or click here for more content related to Wasteland 3.


  • Ryan Night

    Ryan Night is an ex-game industry producer with over a decade of experience writing guides for RPGs. Previously an early contributor at gamefaqs.com, Ryan has been serving the RPG community with video game guides since 2001. As the owner of Bright Rock Media, Ryan has written over 600 guides for RPGs of all kinds, from Final Fantasy Tactics to Tales of Arise.

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