Official loading screen of a warband on a hilltop in Wartales.
Image via Shiro Games

Wartales Starting Guide – Tips & Tricks for Beginners

A Wartales crash course.

Medieval RPG Wartales drops you into a hostile landscape with very little help to guide you. It features an open-world real-time map, but the battles are small squad, tactical, and turn-based. Each of your squad members can level up and learn combat skills as well as a crafting profession, but also face permadeath at every turn. Lastly, as their boss you have to worry about relationship levels, food, and wages. It’s a big ask, made a little easier by our Wartales tips and tricks for beginners.

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Wartales Beginner Guide

Choosing your initial companions in Wartales

The choose your destiny screen, where you choose your starting companions in Wartales
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

At the very start of the game, you’ll have five choices of starting companions and a few resource choices to make. We would suggest avoiding the Bandits option on your first play (stolen items can make for a sticky start). Beyond this, go for your ideal turn-based setup. You’ll get a team of four from a choice of these classes:

Related: Wartales Ghost Carcass Guide

  • Archer: The only genuine ranged option in setup. Can have a chance to hit their companions, and so need to be used carefully.
  • Brute: Tanks with taunt. They can wear heavy armor and deal great damage. They're set up to be your main front-line damage dealers.
  • Ranger: Oddly named, as they're essentially the thief or assassin class. Can use poison to do damage over time (DoT) and is best at attacking enemies already engaged with another companion.
  • Spearman: Useful in tight spots, as they don’t need to be directly next to a unit to attack. Medium armor and can push attackers back to let a tank take over.
  • Swordsman: The basic tank class. More defensive stat-wise than the Brute and often comes with a useful First Aid skill.
  • Warrior: Pretty much a Swordsman Brute hybrid. Solid melee defense and damage output.

Each class has a lot of flexibility as it levels up, and you can add many more companions to your warband as you go, so don’t feel too constrained.

You'll also need to choose a mode to play. For more on this, check out my guide to choosing either Adaptive or Region-locked mode.

Wartales is brutal: Companion deaths and skill checks

If a companion dies in battle, they’re dead. If you’ve taken Cannibalism as a trait, you can eat them; otherwise, you’re going to have to put them in the ground. If you’re the kind of player who gets attached to your troops, be sure to choose the unlimited save option in setup and save often.

Most craft actions have a skill element, with some — such as fishing and lockpicking — seeing you lose items if you fail attempts. In a game where finding the right resources can be tough early on, this can be frustrating. So once again, if that is going to get on your nerves, save before skill attempts.

When and where should I get new companions?

Hiring a new companion in Wartales.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

You can find potential companions in many locations you’ll come across, especially towns. If you speak to one and can’t decide, you can usually come back and hire them later. Many companions you’ll find already have a set profession, so if you’re looking for a particular one, you may want to shop around. Also, it is worth making note of where particular characters are for future reference. In terms of party size, getting up to seven or eight once you can afford, it is a good start.

There are advantages and disadvantages to hiring new companions for your warband:

  • Food and wages: Every member of your warband needs feeding and paying to keep them happy. You can’t pick and choose who you feed, so you’ll need to be confident each new companion will be earning their keep.
  • Widening your skill set: A full range of skills is extremely useful in the crafting professions. You’ll also find as you level up in combat, you’ll face choices where you’d like one of each but must choose one. In such cases, taking on a new companion of the same fighting class can fulfill that tactical need.
  • Influence: Hiring companions costs influence, which early on you might want to save to pay for quests from The Informant (see below).

Where should I go to get quests?

The inside of an inn in Wartales.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

You always start on a small plateau that funnels you off to the northwest. After the initial battle with two bandits, go northwest to the nearby Plateau Stables. From here, follow the path northwest a short way, where you will arrive at Stromkapp. Enter the Traveller’s Feast Inn and talk to Emissary Alignia (with the green glow), who will give you paid jobs that give you some nice initial direction. Note you get a movement bonus when traveling on roads.

Related: How to capture Prisoners & Animals in Wartales

Once you have at least 50 Influence, talk to The Informant (purple glow), who has four tasks you’ll need to finish to complete this region. These are a little tougher than the easier bounties from Alignia, but you’ll want to do them to progress the main storyline of Wartales. You can find these quests on your own without having to pay The Informant.

What professions should I choose?

Choosing a profession for one of your companions in Wartales.

Each of your companions can learn a profession. There are 10 in total, which slowly become available as you explore the game. We suggest considering the following when you start out:

  • Tinkerer: A great choice and immediately available. You can assign one to your workshop in camp and they will create Raw Materials every night. These are constantly useful, as they’re used to repair armor. Can also make essential camp items, such as the Cooking Pot.
  • Cook: It won't take long before your Tinkerer can make a Cooking Pot for your camp. Food is another constant requirement, so being able to create better food from ingredients is great early on for saving money. Fish can be cooked too, so you may also want to create an Angler if you have a spare companion.
  • Alchemist: Visit the Apothecary in any town and your Alchemist will be able to make you everything from bombs to medicine. A highly useful member of the party.
  • Thief: Attempt to steal or pick a lock. Even if you don’t want to go down the stealing route, you’re going to find Lockpicking useful. Sooner or later, you’re going to need a thief.

Food, Krowns, Fatigue, Compendium, and Paths

Highlighting the features on the main exploration screen in Wartales.
Image by Pro Game Guides

There’s a lot to take in when playing Wartales, but these are the essentials to keep track of early on.

  1. Food and Krowns: You’ll find both of these at the top right of the screen. Hover over them to find out how much food your troops will need when you rest next, and how much they’ll need to be paid on the next payday. You’ll want to meet these demands every time, lest your companions lose happiness.
  2. Fatigue: This gauge drops as you move around the map and do battle. When it runs out, you’ll have to camp and pay the above costs; if you don’t, you’ll face a massive combat debuff. There’s also a reminder — a red exclamation mark — on the camp icon when you need to rest.
  3. Camp: Camp is accessible at any time, whether to rest or craft. You can cook and tinker here, and once you’ve made a Camp Chest, you may also store items (this doesn’t increase your weight capacity).
  4. Compendium and Paths: If either of these has an exclamation mark, it means you’re due a bonus of some kind. These can be a big deal (e.g. new skills or reduced costs), so you should take advantage of them as soon as possible.

Wartales companion level-up tips

Choosing specializations after leveling up in Wartales.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Each time you level up, you’ll be given a choice of Attribute Increases. On average every two levels, you’ll additionally receive a Specialization.

  • Attributes: You’ll have three choices, but one will be twice as beneficial (marked with a ++). Early on, you’re best advised to take the double bonus unless you really don’t think it will help the character.
  • Specialization skills: These have square icons and give you a new skill. Some will consume Valour, but others not. Don’t take too many that use Valour unless you also intend to take passives that will get it back (see below).
  • Passive skills: Some passive specializations allow you to earn Valour during battles each time you do a particular action, such as engaging in combat or killing an enemy. Putting these on the right characters and following through on the ability can make a huge difference in battles.

Wartales basic combat tips

Checking for galvanization on the battlefield in Wartales.
Image by Pro Game Guides

You get some tips early on in battles, but these facts are brushed over:

  • Before you do anything: You can drag and drop your units — including allies you’re not controlling — to any blue square. You can even check movement distance by clicking the move button or weapon range for archers. However, as soon as you actually perform an action, that sets your starting positions.
  • Valour: Good use of Valour — see "1" in the image above — can swing a battle. You can gain Valour by resting and performing actions with particular companions in battle once you’ve gained a few levels. Use them wisely, but once you can generate them, use them, as you also have a Valour cap.
  • Galvanization: You’ll gain Galvanisation when you’ve defeated enough opponents to pass the first line on the bar ("2"). This gives a great bonus, as your party’s damage is increased by 50 percent for the rest of the battle. Take out as many weak enemies as you can fast, then use the bonus to help take out the tougher ones.
  • Turn order: This is set for your enemies, but not for you. At the start of each round, look to see which order their troops will act and how many of yours can act beforehand. That way you can try to neutralize or at least engage them before they act.
  • Engaging and Surrounding: Once an enemy is engaged, it will focus on that troop until disengaged, so get your tanks into place before your lightly armored troops are targeted. Be careful of your companions who inflict knockback, as this can disengage an enemy, allowing them to focus on a new target. Also, try to surround an enemy as you’ll do extra damage and decrease the likelihood of knockback.

Set up a revenue stream with Taverns in Wartales

An upgraded tavern in Marheim in Wartales: The Tavern Opens
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

While the Pirates of Belerion DLC adds higher-level content for players who've played the game for some time, The Tavern Opens! DLC works well for old and new players alike. You can get set up incredibly cheaply (your first tavern only costs you 1 Krown), you can do so in the opening region (Stromkapp, in Tiltren County), and the profits you earn in the tavern can be converted directly to Krowns if you're running low on funds.

Once you've paid your 1 Krown to buy the tavern there's a short tutorial that gifts you some copper coins (the tavern-specific currency) for free. You can quickly start to earn profit from the tavern, so as long as you enjoy management sim-style games, this is a fun add-on. A tavern shift happens each time you camp for the night, so you'll get regular freebies. You can even send your companions to work in the tavern if you have an excess! If you want more information, check out my full Tavern Guide.

If you're loving Wartales, also check out Wartales Oils Guide – All Oils and How They Work and Wartales Relationships Guide here at Pro Game Guides!

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Chris Marling
Chris Marling is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience across newspapers, magazines, and websites. Based in the UK, he has written professionally on everything from tech to tearooms. But his real passion is gaming, going right back to the Atari 2600 - and especially RPGs and MMOs. He cut his teeth on games such as The Realm and Anarchy Online. But 20 years on still gets excited about exploring each new world. When not online, you'll find him gaming analog-style around the table. Chris has had five of his own board games published, including Pioneer Days and Armageddon.

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Wartales Starting Guide – Tips & Tricks for Beginners

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