Jagged Alliance 3 – Combat Tasks Explained

This JA3 article delves into how combat tasks work, the different types available, and the rewards you receive.

1. Introduction

This article was written under Jagged Alliance 3 Game Version: Larry (1.5.1)

Please note that much of the information in this article is based on anecdotal evidence and a lot of trial and error. I have not had the opportunity to delve into the actual source code, but I am happy to make any corrections if more accurate information is discovered. If you have any comments, you can either post here or post on my HIVE blog version of this guide.

Every now and then you will receive a random mission that one of your mercs or your entire team can perform. Completing the combat task is entirely optional but there are several benefits if you are able to accomplish it. This guide is going to explain how combat tasks work in detail.

You may receive a combat task when you are in a sector that already has hostile enemies and you need to deploy your team. (i.e. if the sector is initially peaceful but combat might occur later due to scripted events, talking to NPC’s, or attacking friendly NPC’s, then you can’t get a combat task). There is an RNG element as to whether or not you receive a combat task, which merc gets it, and what the combat task is.

Based on anecdotal experience, there does seem to be some sort of cooldown on how often a given merc gets a combat task. As seen from the above screenshot, it is possible for the same squad to receive multiple combat tasks during the same day and it is possible to get combat tasks in neighboring sectors though there are some battles/sectors which don’t seem to generate combat tasks no matter how many times you try to reload it. Once a given merc completes a combat task, it seems like they may need to wait a few days before they are eligible for another one.

Although it is rare, it is also possible for more than one merc to receive a combat task. On several occasions I have gotten two combat tasks at the same time for different mercs. However, I have never gotten more than two combat tasks at a time.

2. List of Combat Tasks

So far, I have seen 20 different combat tasks. Most of them require you to kill enemies a certain way, hit a certain body part of the enemies, use particular weapon types, or they involve dealing or receiving damage/wounds.

I do suspect that the weapon type combat tasks do check what weapons you have equipped or are in your inventory. I have never received a weapon type combat task where it is impossible to complete because none of my mercs are carrying that type of weapon. However, any merc can receive the “kill an opponent with an unarmed attack” combat task.

The combat task is otherwise completely randomized. If you reload the game before entering the sector, you may or may not still receive a combat task, it may be assigned to a different merc, and it may be a completely different combat task.

I’ve also found that aimed melee attacks don’t always count for some of the body part targeting combat tasks.

These are the 20 combat tasks I have discovered so far. “XXX” refers to the specific mercenary who is assigned the combat task:

Careful Combatant: The team should take less than 50 damage in the conflict.

Ardent Defender: No merc other than XXX should take wounds from damage this combat.

Destruction Distributor: XXX should inflict 150 damage to the enemies.

Headhunter: The team must make 5 headshots.

Mutilator: The team must make 5 limb shots.

Put This Apple…: XXX should hit 3 enemies with headshots aimed 3+ times.

Make Them Suffer: The team must kill 3 enemies with attacks in the groin.

Elusive Killer: XXX should make a kill and never suffer damage in the combat.

Stealthy Approach: XXX should start the first combat in stealth and the team should kill 2 opponents before the end of the first turn.

Killing Spree: XXX should kill 2 opponents in the same turn.

Point-Blank: XXX must kill 2 enemies at point-blank range.

Specialist: The team must make 3 kills with special attacks.

(Mobile Shot, Run and Gun, Pin Down, Long Burst with a machine gun, Launch Rocket (i.e. RPG-7), Brutalize (i.e. Knife or Unarmed), Charge, Throw Knife, Throw Grenade, and Throw Stick Grenade definitely count as special attacks. I suspect that Distracting Shot and unique mercenary-specific attacks probably count as well. Triggering a remote detonation or shooting an explosive (such as a proximity explosive nearby) does NOT count though.)

Handgun Kills: The team must kill 3 opponents with a handgun.

Automatic Kills: The team must kill 3 opponents with assault rifles or SMGs.

Sniper Rifle Kills: The team must kill 3 opponents with a sniper rifle.

Shotgun Kills: The team must kill 3 opponents with a shotgun.

Machine Gun Kills: The team must kill 3 opponents with a machine gun.

Explosive Kills: The team must kill 2 opponents in explosions.

Melee Kills: The team must kill 3 opponents with melee weapons.

(Melee takedowns via stealth do not seem to count.)

Brutalizer: XXX must kill 1 opponent with unarmed attacks.

3. Rewards

There are three potential benefits to completing a combat task:

  • XP: Completing a combat task will net around 300 XP for the merc assigned the combat task. This XP can be modified by the merc’s Wisdom stat and the presence of Teaching or Old Dog. For example, one of my mercs with 100 Wisdom received 360 XP without Teaching or Old Dog, while another merc with 100 Wisdom received 396 XP when there was a merc with Teaching on the team.

  • Possible stat point: When the combat task is completed, there is a chance that the assigned merc gets field experience for a random stat point. This is only possible if there is an available point in the “statGainingPoints” pool. (There are several excellent guides that explain the field experience mechanic). So you might not get a stat point if you have not received sufficient XP or you recently received field experience and the pool is empty. If there is an available point in the pool, it seems random whether or not you gain a point (i.e. if you reload, you sometimes get a point and sometimes you don’t). It also seems pseudo-random what stat point gets raised. On a few occasions, reloading led to a different stat increasing but most of the time, reloading doesn’t seem to change the stat type.

  • $2,000: Every 5 combat tasks that you complete earns you $2,000. The first time you complete 5 combat tasks you will receive an e-mail about “A.I.M. S.T.A.R.” Every subsequent 5 combat tasks will result in a “Loyalty Rewards” e-mail.

If you lose track of how many combat tasks you have completed, you can check your History and count the number of completed combat tasks. You can then cross reference the dates of your Loyalty Rewards e-mails to figure out when your last multiple of 5 was.

4. Are They Worth Completing?

Generally it is worth trying to complete the combat tasks. The XP is the main benefit with a potential chance at raising a stat point. The $2,000 every 5 combat tasks is not really that significant though.

It really depends on the specific combat task, that particular merc, the makeup of your team, and the nature of the battle (how many enemies, the field of combat, etc.).

I think it’s usually okay to play a little sub-optimally (e.g. letting one merc get more kills or using different weapons) to complete a combat task.

But I don’t think it’s worth trying a combat task if it is too dangerous for that merc or your team. Maybe if you are okay with save scumming but otherwise there may be some combat tasks that are impossible or too dangerous to complete:

  • A lot of mercs aren’t going to be realistically able to kill an opponent with an unarmed attack. So if a merc who is usually in the back (like Livewire) gets this combat task, you may want to pass. It may also be too risky for these support mercs to kill 2 enemies at point-blank range.
  • For some mercs and for some maps, it may not be feasible to kill opponents with melee weapons.
  • In the early game when you have fewer action points and limited weapon choices, a lot of mercs may have trouble killing 2 opponents in the same turn.
  • Headshots and groin shots usually aren’t too much of a problem since they deal extra damage. But limb shots normally do less damage so if you are being swarmed by enemies you might not have the luxury of making limb shots when each shot needs to be a kill shot.
  • If you get the Ardent Defender combat task (they are the only one who can take wounds) for a merc who doesn’t make a good tank, it may not be worth putting them in harm’s way.

5. Bugs

There are a few cases where initially I thought it was a bug but it turns out to be working as intended:

  • If you do not get a $2,000 A.I.M. reward when you complete a combat task it is probably NOT a bug. You only get the $2,000 for every FIVE (5) combat tasks you complete.
  • If you do not get a stat point when you complete a combat task it is probably NOT a bug. You only get a stat point if there is an available point in the “statGainingPoints” pool.

And there are a handful of situations where I have encountered apparent bugs:

  • On rare occasions, I have not gotten any XP from completing a combat task. That seems like a bug. However, make sure to check the Snype summary and scroll up – sometimes the XP gets earned earlier in the sequence which makes it easy to miss.
  • On one occasion, the combat task didn’t seem to trigger/complete correctly when another squad in the same sector performed the requirement. That is just a single anecdotal occurrence and maybe I missed a detail. I normally don’t have multiple squads in the same sector so I have not tested this much.
  • One bug with the Elusive Kill combat task (should make a kill and never suffer damage in combat) is that if you kill the final opponent with a stealth kill, combat ends, you gain control of the sector, but the combat task does not complete (it remained uncompleted in the upper right corner of the screen). My guess is that the combat task conditions don’t always account for combat ending with a stealth kill. When I reloaded and killed the opponent normally (with a non-stealth kill), the combat task completed correctly. This happened in Version Wolf (1.4.1). I have tried this in Version Larry (1.5.1) and it seemed to work correctly, so hopefully this bug has now been fixed.
  • One bug with the Stealthy Approach combat task (should start the first combat in Stealth and the team should kill 2 opponents before the end of the first turn) is that it really means before the enemy takes any action. If you kill one enemy with a stealth kill but this activates other enemies (who move and attack), then you will fail the combat task even though it is not yet the end of “Turn 1” (at least how the saved game labels Turn 1).

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