Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Beginner Tips

The third game in Shadowrun TrilogyHong Kong will take you to Kowloon Walled City and the outskirts of Heoi, filled with dazzling lights, colorful characters, and plenty of new shadow races to keep you busy, all set against a backdrop of intrigue and mystery.

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This campaign adds even more to what you will have experienced in previous campaigns. There are more weapons and spells to experiment with, a revamped new version of the Matrix, and a team of five characters to meet. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry, we’ve got some great tips to get you started.

best mission order

Just like in Dragonfall, after the first introductory quests, you have free rein to tackle the following quests that open up in any order you like. At the beginning, you will have access to three missions: The Dig, Outsider, and Bad Qi. More quests will unlock after completing any of these, but it is highly recommended that you follow this order when tackling these three quests specifically:

  • To assume Stranger immediately. It’s a fairly laid-back mission that involves you solving a murder and it’s easy enough to get through without engaging in full combat. Also, you can recruit a new party member here.
  • The excavation is another fairly easy quest – there may be some tricky combat encounters, but you can get some great loot.
  • bad qi can be a very annoying quest, leave it until you have more experience with your party and have fleshed out your build a bit.

As for the other quests, you can take them in any order you like, for the most part. However, please note that some quests are personal quests, with some special circumstances revolving around them:

  • misdirection it’s a regular quest but it’s closely tied to Racter’s story. He will be less likely to talk to you until you complete this quest; take it to your group.
  • DeckCon 2056 Y Revenge they are Is0bel and Gaichu’s personal quests, and will also make those characters focus on those quests.
  • the sinking ship is Gobbet’s personal quest, unlocked when you enter Gobbet’s room and find that she is missing. Gobbet won’t be available for any other quests until you complete this quest, so do so as soon as possible if you plan on using it.

hybridize or specialize

Hong Kong is very generous when it comes to Karma rewards. Most quests offer multiple ways to earn bonus karma, and the quests themselves often reward eight to ten karma each. This gives you plenty of room to experiment with builds, whether you want to create a hybrid or a total specialist.

  • hybrids you will be able to do more things in battle, but you may not be able to equip the best spells or weapons as soon as they are unlocked.
  • specialists they will be able to accomplish great feats, but they will rely more on their teammates for skills they don’t invest in.

Regardless of what you choose, it’s beneficial to plan your build early in the game so you can spend your karma wisely.

spend wisely

Speaking of spending wisely, when it comes to money, Hong Kong is pretty tight. You won’t get as much nuyen in Hong Kong as you have in previous campaigns, so it’s important that you make solid purchases.

Here are some tips for making the most of Hong Kong’s reluctance to pay you:

  • Attempt stagger your updates – You won’t need to buy every rank of every weapon or spell. For example, consider waiting until you have access to Powerbolt III or Acid Bolt III to upgrade your main spell, instead of paying for the second rank.
  • If you’re not a Decker, take Is0bel on all possible missions. You can connect to the Matrix and acquire payment data that can be sold on your mission computer.
  • comply with a rule only buy stuff when stores update. This way you won’t be short of money to buy things when stores finally get better stock.
  • Only buy equipment and items for your allies if you really need and want them. – they can operate quite well on their own.


sleep in your bunk

You will get the optional sleep task between most of your missions. To do this, head to your berth in the safe boat before going on another mission.

Doing so will give you more information about the curse of the Walled City, something you’ll need to know to get the best ending.

The matrix has changed

The Hong Kong segments of The Matrix are very different from those of Dragonfall and Dead Man’s Switch. now join stealth elements. While they can be brute force with combat, this is a risky move and will make your life a lot harder. There’s also a hacking minigame that you’ll probably want to learn how to play pretty quickly.

Check out our Matrix guide for tips on dealing with this..

recruitable characters

Once you have access to the safe pot, it is possible to recruit two characters immediately. It’s best to do this as soon as you can, as you’ll be able to unlock their personal stories, and therefore their personal quests, faster.

  • Recruit character, just head to the decks below and talk to him. Eventually, you will have the option to ask him to join you. He is a Rigger with a pretty awesome Drone.
  • Recruit Gaichu, accept the quest Outsider. Once you have found the culprit at the end of the mission, forgive him and recruit him. Gaichu is a melee fighter with a highly adaptable playstyle.

Passive Totems

It is very likely that you want invest karma in your charisma stat to unlock tags – they are great for exploring the world and getting bigger rewards from dialogues, after all.

With only three ranks in Charisma, you can take the three ranks needed to acquire a totem power – Only six Karma points invested in Spirit Summoning are needed.

In Hong Kong, some new totems have been added that, instead of giving you an active ability that you may never remember to use, provide a permanent and passive benefit. They highlight the Boar and cobra totem poleswhich provide an additional 15 HP and more damage and accuracy, respectively.

best labels

Speaking of charisma, you’ll run into the etiquette problem again in Hong Kong. There are so many to choose from and it’s impossible to know exactly how useful they’ll be until you actually play the game.

Fear not, we have some top-notch recommendations:

  • Security and Socialite they appear multiple times and provide alternative and easier ways to complete certain quests. Probably only one of them is worth taking.
  • shadow runner will help in situations not covered by Security and Socialite. You will also learn a lot of history and background information with this one.
  • Academic It comes up more than any other Etiquette, but it’s almost exclusively reserved for showing off like a know-it-all and learning the lore. It’s interesting, but not so mechanically useful.


There are some high level Charisma checks later in the game that are very beneficial to get past. They will require a whopping seven charisma to spend, but worth the investment. A very easy way to get that level of public speaking is level up to six Charisma normally (getting three full Tags along the way) and buy Tailored Pheromones bioware for an easy +1 that doesn’t even cost Essence!

NEXT: Shadowrun: Who Is Harlequin?

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