Torn City Nash's Guide to Nerve Bar

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This guide is in current need of an update: to be brought in line with the nerve bar changes from the 25/08/15--Cartman[1621675] 01:45, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

As found in this forum thread written by Nash:

Hey all. I don't really like people just copying and pasting the TCBasic Guide whenever someone asks about nerve, as it has a number of errors in it, so I thought I'd write down a little one of my own. Feel free to criticize and comment on it, so I can make it better for you all =)

I know that nerve is one of those 'useless' kinda stats that doesn't really contribute to much in the game, but if they change it one day to reward people with high nerve bars, you're going to be annoyed you didn't use the opportunity to maximize it.

This is all based on my experience, which isn't perfect, but I did manage to hit 45 nnb in 217 days, so I know a little. It's all open to interpretation and others input.

EDIT // From the looks of the new company specials, there seems to be some new sorts of crimes being developed. Therefore, I think it will be imperative to get your nerve bar as high as possible as quickly as possible, so you can try the new ones out ASAP!

What is CE?

Nerve bar is based on your Crime Experience (CE) in the game. Any crime you do, and anyone you bust, adds a static amount to your CE. This is a hidden stat, and the only way to 'view' your back-end CE is your natural nerve bar value. This is the amount of nerve you'd have before accounting for any merits or faction boosts. Natural Nerve Bar (NNB) goes up by values of 5 each time you hit the hidden levels of CE in the back end of Torn. It starts at 10 and caps out at 45. Any time you get jailed doing a crime or organized crime, your CE is reduced by a PERCENTAGE, not a static amount. What this means is that 1 or 2 failures of a crime with a high nerve bar can take a massive chunk of your CE. Which can take forever to get back.

CE affects your chance of success on any particular crime. The higher your CE, the better chance you have of performing a crime. You have to have a certain CE before some crimes will be able to be successful. If you attempt a crime that is too hard for your particular level of CE, you'll either fail it (blue result) or get jailed (red result). Hence, you should only progress to harder crimes as your natural nerve bar rises (the only way to tell whereabouts your CE is at). You can also improve this success rate by merits, and by the faction special enormity. Also, each crime has a crime enhancer item you can buy to improve the chance of success slightly (2%). There are 17 crime enhancer items in total, as there are 17 types of crimes. My recommendation, if you can afford it, is to get the enhancer for any crime you are performing. Since you do thousands of crimes, 2% will add a LOT of successes you wouldn't normally get.

There are a few job specials that increase CE as well, but the general opinion of these is that they only give tiny amounts of CE, so aren't worth wasting the valuable job points on. (Feel free to disagree if you've experimented and had different results!)

There are a few crimes that HOSPITALIZE you, rather than jail you. Getting burnt doing Arson, or mauled by a guard dog, for example. These DO NOT reduce your crime experience. Similarly, and counter-intuitively, getting caught while trying to bust someone out of jail DOES NOT reduce your crime experience. I have extensively tested this.

So what crimes should I do?

Therefore, there really are only a couple of crimes that you should be doing. You can gain almost all the merits based on crimes by doing these 'safe' crimes. Ones that you will only be hospitalized or fail (blue/brown result), and not get jailed at all, speeding your way up to the maximum 45 natural nerve.

When you begin, you obviously stick to doing the easiest crimes in each category until you see your nerve bar rise to the next increment of 5. You should get up to 15 nerve pretty quickly with the starter refills by doing the bootlegging crime and stealing jackets from the clothes shop. If you get caught at these early levels, it isn't such a big problem, as the % taken from your CE is not damaging long-term. Once you hit 20 nnb however, you should try to only do safe crimes, as below:

15-20 NNB: Perform the 5 nerve crime - 'Pickpocket Someone'

  • Kid
  • Old Woman
  • Businessman

Start with the Kid, and then after 50-100, start on the old woman, and again, after 50-100, move to the businessman. If you start failing more than 1 in 3, go back to the previous one until you are succeeding at least 4 out of 5. You may get jailed a couple of times mugging the businessman. Don't worry - this doesn't seem to affect CE too badly early on, so jump back to mugging the old lady for 50-100 mugs, and then keep doing the businessman until you either get jailed again, or hit 20 nnb. Don't ever bother pickpocketing the loan shark, as TCBasic suggests, as I've found you get jailed way too easily.

Once you hit 20 NNB: Perform the 7 nerve crime - 'Thorough Robbery'.

ONLY perform the 'Thorough Robbery' armed robbery crime. This gives great experience, and you do not get jailed, although you will probably get a number of unsuccessful attempts, where you hear police sirens and what not. You may have to do this crime over 1000 times to move to 25 NNB. Some people report that they have trouble with this crime immediately after they hit 20 NNB, so if you do, just go back to mugging the businessman for 50-100 and then try again.

Edit: Someone mentioned it's not a bad idea to just do thousands of steal jackets to proceed up to 25 and 30 NNB, as you get 2 merits every 2500 theft crimes. This is good for merits, but I don't think it's the quickest way to improve your CE. Again, up to each individual what they prefer!

Once you hit 25 NNB: Perform the 9 nerve crime - 'Stealth Virus' (see first sentence though)

- If you have no merits in crime success %, continue doing the 7 nerve 'Thorough Robbery' for 200-300 more. You will need to get your CE up a little higher if you have no merits or specials in the faction to be successful with Stealth Virus. - If you have merits in crime success %, start doing the 9 nerve crime: 'Stealth Virus'. If you aren't in a faction with Enormity V or higher to increase to crime success % as well, I would recommend staying with Armed Robbery for even longer, but you can start doing stealth virus at this point just because of the faction special, and it helps to have merits as well. (I had 5 points in crime success by this time)

You need to buy a personal computer, and a stealth virus from the market before doing this crime. I would also highly recommend an ergonomic keyboard, because this crime has a massively high unsuccessful rate. You WILL fail this crime a HUGE amount of times. It's frustrating, but it gives excellent CE on success, so stick with it. You should get to 30 NNB by about 500 to 1000 successes. I kept going until the 1000 double merit for this particular crime before moving onto the next crime.

IMPORTANT! Start your general education course, Drivers License here, as you will need it in a few weeks time when you get to 30 NNB.

Once you hit 30 NNB: Perform the 11 nerve crime - 'Warehouse Arson'

Hopefully you've got your drivers license now, so it's time to get a gas can from the market (cheaper than spending points on it).

Warehouse Arson has a really really high success rate, so you're able to start doing it as soon as you hit 30 NNB as long as you have some merits in Crime Success and the Enormity Faction special. You will get hospitalized in something like 1 in 30 attempts, so keep some morphine on you.

Now, get settled in, because you'll be doing a lot of Arson. It's a decent bit of income, and is such a high success rate you should do this almost all the way up to 45 NNB. Some people recommend keeping doing it past 40 NNB, just because of its super high success rate.

Once you hit 40 NNB:

  • Perform the 10 nerve crime - 'Mob Boss'
  • Perform the 11 nerve crime - 'Warehouse Arson'
  • Perform the 15 nerve crime - 'Kindap the Mayor'

Personally, I think there is a higher CE crime, which is the 15 nerve: 'Kidnap the Mayor'. However, this crime has a penalty of $75,000 if you fail it (which happens regularly), and if you don't have this amount of cash on your person, you will get jailed and lose CE. So keep some cash on you. The cash reward for this crime is quite nice, but it also has a REALLY high failure rate. Higher than Stealth Virus. So if you got frustrated there, you will lose your bananas doing Kidnap the Mayor. At times, you can use a nerve refill for ~45 nerve, or nerve boosters, and do 3x Kidnap the Mayor, and fail each and every one. I once failed 11 in a row. Super frustrating... BUT, I am positive this gives at least 5 or 6 times the Crime Experience that Warehouse Arson does, so if you don't mind being frustrated, then it's definitely the quickest way up to 45 NNB. I don't have mathematical proof of this, I can only speak from experience, and while I got the easy street in terms of getting to 45 NNB (I did lost of busts before it got hit with the nerf stick - I'll talk about those later), I think it definitely helped speed up how quickly I got there.

EDIT: People have reported that they achieved their 45 NNB quicker than Arsons by doing the 10 nerve crime Assassination - Mob Boss. If this is your piece of cake, go for it. I haven't experimented with Assassination.

SO, Once you hit 45 NNB... how do you keep it safe?

OK, so clearly, if you're going for merits, there are some you can achieve with zero risk. They are:

  • For the thefts merit: Do the 4 nerve, Shoplift, Steal From Clothes Shop, Jacket crime. I think I've stolen about 1000 jackets, and never failed once.
  • For the computer crimes merit: Do the 9 nerve, Stealth Virus crime. No jailings, but plenty of failures. Will take about twice the number of attempts to get the merit. I.e. 1000 computer crimes will take about 2000 attempts = 18,000 nerve. (YMMV, depending on whether you've attained the Federal Judge job, have Enormity Faction special, etc)
  • For the Murder merit: Do the 10 nerve, Assassinate a Mob Boss crime. Many people agree that 'Assassinate a Mob Boss' is the easiest to do. This crime does not have a chance to get jailed. Instead, just like Arson, you'll only go to hospital if you fail. It does have quite a lot of blues, though, so prepare for a lot of failures, and carry some morphine to get out of hospital.
  • For the fraud merit: Do the 11 nerve, Warehouse Arson crime. Pretty straightforward. No need to do any other fraud crimes.
  • For the GTA merit: Do the 12 nerve, Steal a Parked Car crime. You never get jailed doing this one, only failures. People always try to steal a car from a showroom or hijack a car. IT IS NOT WORTH IT, TRUST ME!! Just steal the parked cars. You get about 23k to 32k net worth from each car you steal with this crime, and it's not worth risking the CE loss to try to steal a more expensive car.

OK, now comes the tricky bit. Obviously some of the merits are impossible to achieve without getting jailed. These are the drug crimes merits. There are a couple of theories on how to minimize the amount of times you get jailed. People think that multiple attempts at the same crime will result in a higher chance to get caught.

For the 8 nerve, Transport Drugs crime, many people agree that the 'Transport Cocaine' crime is the highest success %. They also say that doing too many of these a day will almost guarantee getting caught, so my advice is, and while it will take a long time, just do 5-10 a day of these, spaced out throughout the day. This merit is a complete bastard, and you won't be able to avoid getting jailed, so I'm going to wait until I've done ALL my other crime merits before attempting them.


That pretty much sums it up. There is not a really big financial reward for doing crimes, and that's why my advice is just to stick to the safe crimes until you really need the merits for the ones that aren't. I've tried Hacking, and Arms Trafficking, and Bombings, and Pawn Shop, and Counterfeiting, and they really just aren't worth getting caught. A couple of times when we needed casino tokens, we Counterfeited, but I lost my 45nnb very very quickly by getting caught about 3 times within 10 crimes. Clearly you are your own boss, but I think it's important to keep a 45nnb if at all possible, as you just never know when the Ched-meister will change something around, and it will be super important to have it.

BUSTING! I forgot to mention busting. Busting people from the jail WILL increase your CE by a little bit. It used to be a massive amount, but Ched nerfed it hard very recently, and now you can only bust 3-4 people PER DAY from the jail before the chance of getting caught is almost 100%. I can't recommend busting people any more simply for CE. The failure rate is too high, it costs nerve that you could be using for a good CE crime, and it just takes too long to get merits. Do them once you've hit 45nnb. It's important to mention that it is almost impossible to bust someone of a higher level than you, so just concentrate on busting people of a lower level than you. Check the bail fee first. You can usually bust people at about $15,000 * Your Level (So for me, 36 * 15,000 = $540,000 bail fee).

I will mention OC's here at the end, too. They aren't big respect or money earners, but over time, they can provide a decent boost to a factions coffers and respect. A lot of the lower ones don't give much benefit. But they DO increase your crime experience on top of the normal nerve bar crimes, at no cost to the players, so I think it's important to participate. One day I'm sure the system will be revamped, and they will release much more beneficial OC's, just like the Political Assassination OC. Unfortunately this crime is almost impossible to achieve now, since Ched nerfed the busting system, but hopefully one day it, and others, will be accessible to the regular players. If and when this happens, I think it's important to have a faction with as many top level nerve bars as possible.

So yeah, please feel free to post any comments, input, or questions, and I will do my best to answer them for you. Hope you got something out of reading this.


Footnote... I'm quite mathematical in the way I'm going for merits. For me, I'm working out which next merit will use the least nerve in order to achieve it. Hence why I mentioned it about stealth virus earlier. If you are going for a 2500 theft merit, you obviously need to work on the assumption it will take about 10,000 nerve (possibly a little more) to achieve it. If you have 500 computer crimes to go in order to achieve the next merit, you can assume it will take around (500*2)*9 = 9000 nerve to achieve it (less if you have the crime enhancer + faction bonus + merits), but at least you can sort of see that it will be quicker for you to get the Computer Crime merit first.

It's worth noting, thanks to input from replies, that each 2500 thefts, you actually get a medal and an award, so that's 2 merits for ~10,000 nerve, which can be a lot better than most other crimes. You also get ranks at certain #'s of total crimes, so that's worth keeping in mind, too.

By doing this, you will get faster merits and hopefully help yourself in other areas of the game better.