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Author Topic: Outlaw's State of Decay guide  (Read 27087 times)
TheLastOutlaw
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« on: June 11, 2013, 04:38:54 pm »

Outlaw's State of Decay Game Guide:

So what this is...
This is an overview of State of Decay meant to cover the aspects that may not be intuitive or are easy to overlook unless you dig deep into the notebook and actually read all the tutorials that pop up while you're button mashing your way through yet another zombie horde.  Some are just lessons I learned the hard way.

EDIT:  Going through, fixing typos and adding more detail in a few spots.  Changes will be flagged with italics.

What this isn't...
This is not a walkthru or anything that gives blow by blow guidance on how to beat the game.

So you want to survive the zombie apocalypse (know your character)
The first two playable characters you are going to come across are Marcus and Maya.   These are excellent starting points for this section.

Marcus is a big black guy.  Look at his skills.  He has the four basic skills that every character has, Cardio, Fighting, Wits and Shooting.  He also has powerhouse and born leader.  We'll cover the basic skills first.

Cardio.  This game is built like they used Zombieland rule #1 as the design document.  The single most important skill in the game, it not only governs how long and fast you can run, it also effects how long you can keep swinging your melee weapons.   Grind this skill up on your "main" character as fast as possible.  Do this by running everywhere all the time whenever you can.  That being said use some common sense.  Stealth is important when searching buildings and avoiding hordes.  Also don't run yourself until you need to stop to catch your breath, if a zombie or two comes along while you're in this state you will be easy pickings for them.  A good rule of thumb is run until your cardio bar starts to flash, walk until it recharges, then run again.  If you want you can eat Twinkies (snacks as the game calls them but look at the package... these aren't the only Zombieland references you'll find in this game) to boost your cardio and grind it up faster but it's sort of overkill.  I maxed a character starting from all level one stats including their powerhouse and weapon specialization in just a few hours (with the exception of shooting but more on that later).  The game is pretty generous with xp but you don't get any unless you use the skill.

Fighting.  This stat (obviously) governs your ability to fight.  That being said I honestly don't see much difference between level one fighters and level seven fighters as far as damage output or ability to knock a zombie down and crush its skull.  The real key here is boosting fighting lets you unlock weapon specializations and special moves.  More on that later.

Shooting.  Pretty self explanatory.  Shooting helps primarily with your reload speed as it levels.  I honestly never used shooting enough to significantly level it for any character.  There are a few characters (like Maya) who already start with mid range skill in shooting so if you are going into situation where you know you're going to rely on shooting use them.  Otherwise save your ammo.  It's hard to significantly stockpile, easy to use up and the shots attract zombies.  You can use suppressors but those only lessen the sound and typically don't last long.  I'll discuss my opinions on firearms in this game more later.

Wits.  The game centers very much on your need to scavenge for resources.  Wits are your skill that governs how quickly and how quietly you can search.  Around level four or so your searches become significantly quieter and there is even a specialization you can unlock for completely silent searches.  You can hold down your sprint button to speed up any search but not only is fast searching louder but you also run the chance of accidentally making a significant amount of noise which carries with it the chance to attract a horde.  And don't think because you see no hordes around that you can make as much noise as you want, the game will spawn one for you if it wants to screw you.  The simplest way to grind this skill is to search as many containers as possible.  For example letís assume youíre searching for  a lost community member, while youíre doing your room to room/house to house search anyway, loot the crap out of everything.

So those are the basic stats, now a word about the other stats you may see.

Powerhouse.  This is one of my favorites.  If one is available I ALWAYS take a character that has this trait.  Why?  Glad you asked... Powerhouses get a few bonuses.  They can carry more overall weight before they get encumbered.  In other words they'll make the most of that large sized backpack you may run across (I highly recommend searching the shit out of the starting area by the ranger station until you find at least one, if not two of these, the large backpacks are great for your supply runs) AND powerhouses also allow you to stack four items per pack slot instead of the usual three.  (They do not carry more than the standard thirty round ammo stack though which is a shame.)  If these two perks weren't enough... there's more.  They also have the chance to do a "critical" hit with blunt weapons which other characters don't have the chance to do unless they choose to specialize in blunt weapons.  This is a very handy perk and I'll talk about it more later.  You can also choose a powerhouse specific melee attack that allows you to grab two zombies and crack their skulls together (or a gimmicky wrestling move).  Not only do you need this skull cracker attack if you want all the achievements, it's also great for crowd control.  

Reflexes.  I haven't messed around with this one enough to see what it does for you, sorry.

There are other traits you'll run across.  Pack a day for instance is a smoker, they have penalties to their cardio xp.  Marcus's born leader gives you influence bonuses, Maya's soldier boosts her shooting xp.  If you're not sure what it does, take a look at it on the character's card.  When you see the characters with traits like "doctor", "chemist", "mechanic" or shit like that?  Don't take them into the field unless there is no other choice.  These are the people you need to get the most out of your base and you don't want to risk getting them killed off.

A word on specializations...  There are a couple different special moves or skills you can unlock as you progress through the skill levels.  And each skill has a specialization you can unlock when it hits level seven.  BUT!  You can only choose ONE of these max level specializations.  Once you select one, even if you get another skill to level seven later, you can't pick a new one, so make sure you know what you want.  For instance, wits can unlock you the ninja perk where you can open any locked door without having to knock it down and you can search silently.  Or another to move faster when stealth walking.  But if you take that you're not going to unlock rage (fighting level seven) which gets you back cardio when you kill something.  Or the cardio bonus that allows you to either consume half cardio when running or half cardio when swinging a melee weapon.  You get the picture.

So a word about my "best" build so you can get a feel for how it all comes together.  The character I beat the game with was Jacob Ritter (the radio chicks brother.)  Jake has the standard skills plus powerhouse, I specialized in blunt weapons and when that was maxed the critical hit bonus stacked nicely with his powerhouse bonus making more fights than not one swing deals.  I gave him the dual headcracker melee move, the spinning backhand swing (excellent for crowd control) and the buffed shove.  I took Rage for the cardio regen which is not as predictable in the sense that the 50% cardio savings perk would have given me but in fights where I managed to string together a lot of one or two hit kills I could go a LONG time before my cardio ran dry which was nice.  He was built for packing a lot of weight and being able to fight through crowds of zombies when required.  Overall his build worked very well for me.

And I mentioned Maya way back at the start of this as a contrast to Marcus.  Maya is a great character, I used her extensively in my aborted first game however if you go with Maya (or any female for that matter) know a couple things going in.  They can't carry as much weight, you'll either be making many trips to loot, leaving stuff behind or running encumbered.  Running encumbered sucks because you will drain your Cardio super fast when running and fighting.  So bear that in mind.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 09:49:59 am by TheLastOutlaw » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 04:39:46 pm »

So you're setting out into the world... (know your strategy and tactics).

Tangentially related to your character build is your tactics.  After trying a little bit of everything I eventually settled on blunt weapons as my go to weapons.  The basic hierarchy goes like this.  Edged weapons are the fastest and use the least cardio when swung.  Blunt weapons are slightly slower and use more cardio.  Heavy weapons have insane reach but are super slow and suck cardio like mad.  All of these weapons swing even slower when you've emptied your cardio meter so when you start out saying "the heavy weapons aren't THAT slow" you'll end up saying, "holy fucking shit, will I even finish this swing before this zombie starts chomping on my neck again?" 

The knockdown... EVERY character with ANY melee weapon (or even bare fisted) can instantly kill a zombie who's been knocked down by standing over it and holding LBumper/Y.  Get to know this button combo, it is your best friend.  The takedown move is uninterruptible once you start it and will even take out a knocked down feral.  Another reason I love blunt weapons is even level one fighters will down a zed after the third hit in a three hit combo.  With powerhouse or blunt specialization (or both) you can down enemies in one or two hits more often than not, allowing you step up and take 'em down hassle free (if you didn't just crush their head with the first blow anyway).  For clarification when Iím saying downed in this sense Iím not talking about killed, Iím talking about when a zed is down on one knee stunned, or lying flat on their face/back.The edged weapons sort of get something like that.  There's a chance of decapitation (similar to the blunt/powerhouse critical) but only if you choose edged as your weapon to specialize in.  The reason I stopped using edged weapons is if you have to solo a feral, you're MUCH better off having the chance to knock them down where you can crush them rather than relying on the higher DPS to finish them off before you get fatigued.  But more on that later.

So you're getting gang raped... aka stunlock and knowing your options.  Stunlock is totally a thing in this game but there are things you can do to minimize having it happen to you.  First of all, keep in the open.  The zombies will always try to surround you when they can.  If you have your back to a wall (or truck in my sad tale) you have to try to dodge through them which works exponentially worse the less directions they have to worry about blocking you from.  The B button is your dodge button.  Get to know this button.  If you ever have the opportunity to, marry this button.  Tapping B and pushing in a direction will allow you to dodge in that direction.  The more zombies that are between you and the direction you're attempting to dodge lessen your chances of making it out clean, your chances also drop off steeply if you've drained your cardio meter in which case your dodge is more like leaning slowly in the direction you'd like to go which brings us to another point in our quest to avoid being stun locked.  Cardio or health?  Pick one.  The game won't kill you the first time your health meter drains empty.  (usually)  Normally you get the chance to mash the A button to stand up again, only now a segment of your health meter is greyed out and it will not fill again until you rest at your home base and receive medical attention.  If part of your health bar is greyed out and you get grabbed by a feral or big fat fucker then you are dead.  It was nice knowing you, try not to puke when you watch your character you just spent all morning grinding gets ripped in half in front of you.  Your option at this point is equipping a grenade and arming it before you die completely so you can at least take them out with you and get the "You always were an a-hole Gorman" achievement if you don't already have it.  (Sweet Aliens reference right?)  But back up a second.  Before you go pulling the pin on your grenade and wishing you had an angry Latina machine gunner to cuddle with during your last moments decide which stat you're going to attempt to save.  Eating a Twinkie or taking some pain meds both take time.  The animation for doing either can be interrupted and even if you do choke down some painkillers you still have to wait for your health to recharge, meaning you're STILL at risk of being downed if they deal damage faster than you heal it.  If both meters are near empty my advice it to go for the Twinkie, the cardio recovery effects are faster and your dodge chances increase greatly if you have some cardio.  Dash/dodge free of the horde and then pop some pills.

Zombies... the shambling undead.  They can outrun you in the long term if you aren't smart about it.  Fight them in small groups, you can easily take three or four with a full cardio meter and decent melee weapon.  If you run into a larger group (like full on horde) use the terrain to your advantage.  For example run parallel to a fence.  Some of them will try to pathfind around the horde to get to you and climb the fence, thus slowing them down and stringing the horde out where you can face smaller groups at a time.  Or jump a fence/low wall.  The zombies will usually come across the fence or wall in ones or twos where you can take them out easier.  But this has risks.  I've seen zombies glitch right through fences.  Like run through them unimpeded.  Hordes are typically easy to avoid, their red cone of vision usually appears on your mini map with enough time to avoid it, just watch how much noise you make.  If you can get into a car you can run entire hordes over no sweat.  But be careful using vehicles.  Zombies are attracted to noise in this game.  You will often return to a vehicle to find it surrounded by zombies who followed it so you'll usually want to avoid parking them right near where you're going to be for a while. 

Screamers... what it says on the tin.  Noisy bastards with no arms.  They scream and that attracts other zombies.  Infestations are cleared by taking out one or two of these and all the zombies that they attracted.  Infestation clearing made easy... get a car.  Wait outside the infested building and honk the horn.  Run over the zombies who come outside to see what's up, rinse repeat until you feel like going in after the remnants.  Keep in mind, the Screamers screams do not hurt you.  BUT your character will stop to cover his ears when they scream giving others the chance to maul you.  To avoid this situation I typically cap them with a head shot from a safe distance. 

Armored/SWAT zombies.  Zombies covered with SWAT or military armor.  These are moderately a pain.  Shooting them is mostly ineffective and you can hack at them for a while with edged weapons, I strongly recommend using blunt weapons on these guys because despite the armor the simple three hit blunt combo and finishing move works on these bozos.  They do not move any faster than regular zombies though the visored helmet they wear blocks you from seeing their glowing eyes so it's totally possible to walk right into them in a dark building.  You can get missions to go on hunts for these guys, don't hesitate to take them.  Even if your AI hunting buddy goes brain dead or decides he wants to try passive resistance you can easily solo an Armored dead.

Big 'un.  These guys show up shortly before mid game and are a pain in the ass.  The budget version of left 4 dead's tank, it's a giant fat hillbilly zombie who take a hell of a lot of firepower to take down.  They are ammo sponges and even with headshots you can burn a LOT of ammo taking these guys down.  You can hit them with cars but pretty much one solid hit and the car is totaled and he's just pissed off.  Best strategy is to lure them near propane tanks (big ones are near some building and a lot of houses have them near garages or mounted on barbecue grills) or use other explosives.  Do not get in close and melee unless they are already grabbing someone else because otherwise you will become a chew toy.  Missions to hunt these guys also come up.  Don't be afraid to tell your little friend to go fuck himself and let this hunt pass.  If your friend zones out and you're forced to solo one of these it probably won't be worth the effort even if you walk away from it.

Bloated zombie/Rotter.  Meet the budget version of the boomer.  Disgusting bloated zombie who leaves behind a poisonous cloud when you cap it.  You CAN melee one of these but if you do run as quickly as you can out of the cloud.  If you hit one with a car get out of the car ASAP, the cloud will stick to the car and you will likely die if you stay in it.  Hunts come up for these all the time, go for it.  One or two shots and they die, easy solo job.

Feral.  This is seriously the zombie I hate the most in the game.  Stronger, faster, and crazier than normal zombies these things will pounce on you and get their rape on as soon as they make eye contact with you.  If you have an AI partner with you who hasn't left their brain at home that day, fighting these isn't really all that bad.  It may knock you down but the AI will shove it off and you can commence to showing it who not to fuck with ever again.  If the AI decides he really wants to see if you can take this out on your own, or if (God forbid) you come across one of these out in the wild alone things are much harder, as bad as a feral is by itself it's much worse if you run into it with other zombies (which is usually what happens if you find them "in the wild.")  You HAVE to keep the pressure on him, bring the fight to him, if he backs off he's only doing it to get room to pounce (and get his rape on.)  You can hack at one of these dicks for a LONG time with an edged weapon before it drops and you may not have the Twinkies to keep at it.  I STRONGLY recommend you go at it with a blunt weapon because that gives you the chance to knock it down (you can even knock them out of mid pounce if you time it right).  When they fall down they do one of two things.  Bounce RIGHT back up again, or stay down long enough so you can do your standard finishing move.  The animation is different for each, get to know it.  If he just goes down for a second that's a great chance to eat a Twinkie so you're ready for round two or pop some pills.  You CAN use the dodge to get away from his attacks but this is a risky time to pop pills or eat Twinkies because his follow up attacks can interrupt the animation or he can pounce you.  This is probably the most common hunt you'll be asked to do.  Early on in the game I didn't hesitate to go after these things and with a good partner it normally goes well.  Once I started getting the spectator AI problem and got killed by one of these fucks while my buddy stood there and watched I stopped hunting them.  "Why don't you come hunt ferals with us?" they ask.  "Why don't you go fuck yourselves?"  I ask.

Item and character management.  This is related to overall tactics so I'll put it here.  When I went out into the field I also brought with me, a melee weapon and a backup melee weapon.  As soon as a weapon is getting damaged it will show up by your mini map colored yellow.  When this happens swap to your backup.  If your backup goes yellow head back to base and swap out to fresh ones ASAP.  You don't want to ditch damaged weapons, you'll get some influence back for returning them, even damaged and if you have a workshop they'll eventually be repaired.  And you never want a weapon to break in combat, that just sucks since the game doesn't pause when you to equip a new one.  Also on my "must carry" list is a fully loaded gun and 30 rounds of ammo for it.  Take a high capacity handgun if you can.  9mm ammo is pretty common (as is .22) and both are adequate for taking down any zed, even a Big 'un in a pinch.  SMGs tend to be horrible with accuracy so save your ammo for rifles and pistols.  Full auto is not your friend.  Save the shotgun ammo for seriously bad situations (and if you find the awesome bull pup shotty that holds 14 rounds you will also want this for those bad situations) because it's hard to come by.  Add to my list, 2 Twinkies and 2 painkillers (of some kind) for those unplanned emergencies.  (Like feral rape attacks.)  The "painkiller" pain killers are the standard, these are the ones the NPCs will scarf during sim time.  The NPCs don't seem to touch the stronger stuff (codeine and morphine) or the weaker stuff (aspirin, acetometphin or ibuprofen.)  Also, consider taking with you some coffee.  This is part of your character management.  Whatever character you are not using will go out and do missions as well.  These are the a-holes who keep getting lost and asking you to escort them home, or want to watch you go mano-a-mano with a feral or whatever.  Meaning there is a revolving door to who is not fatigued or injured.  You get the biggest bang for your buck leveling wise by keeping one character in the field but you can't do that without coffee.  When you get fatigued, drink a coffee.  It restores from a -20 fatigue penalty to A-OK.  Truck stops/gas station often also have trucker pills you can pop to do the same thing.  I've also found energy drinks and amphetamines.  Some of these may be habit forming, not sure what happens in game if you get addicted to any of it.  One of the survivor groups outside of Marshall has a coffee maker.  What does that mean?  Every once in a while you'll get a notice saying that coffee is available there, go get you some.  They usually brew ten cups at a time, you can carry four (or three) in a slot so plan accordingly.  Don't stay in the field if you drop to -40 fatigue or more, it's just begging for trouble.  And if your max health drops due to severe wounds, that won't heal unless you go back to base and rest up which you should do as soon as it happens.  Otherwise you risk getting whacked by the first feral or big 'un you blunder into.

You influence pool and managing it.  All the characters you equip draw from the same influence pool.  Giving ten or fifteen people a firearm and melee weapon takes a LOT of influence.  And this shit breaks and needs repair/replacement.  You should be bringing back weapons and ammo whenever you come across any.  It's the easiest way to keep your influence pool high.  And you can only hold a max amount of influence equal to your fame rating, anything above will slowly burn off.  So if you have it use it.  The best bang for your influence buck after making sure everyone has weapons is building outposts.  Outposts have lockers linked to your home base locker so you can resupply from any outpost or drop off stuff you've picked up.  (To make looting really good locations easier I've just created an outpost in the building, I had this one house, it was like magic, every container had a gun in it.)  Outposts also will generate a resource for you like food or ammo or medicine depending on where you build it.  If you have a couple of outposts in restaurants and build a garden you may never have to scavenge for food again.  Gun shops are prime outpost material because you normally get ammo from them.  I split my outposts pretty evenly across the two main towns and then a couple in more out of the way places so pretty much no matter where I was I had somewhere reasonably close where I could resupply or dump off loot.  If you built an outpost and arenít sure you want to keep it you can dismantle it using your base management menu.  The only thing outposts don't do for you is accept resource drops.  If you strap on the big duffel bag of ammo, medicine, whatever you have to take it back to your home base to get credit for it.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 09:40:56 am by TheLastOutlaw » Logged


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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 04:40:37 pm »

Which is a nice segue to your base.  Build shit to pimp your base out.  First and foremost you must have a guard tower.  When they decide to man it (which they may not if they are feeling brain dead) your NPCs will keep the base clear by sniping zombies from it.  Your first base comes with this, if you move to another you'll probably have to build it.  I focused on having good food and medical care which speeds up recovery time for wounded characters, building a bunk house is important to avoid overcrowding and be sure to build a library.  You can't upgrade the garden or get the final infirmary upgrade built without it, but you don't need to keep it either, I tore mine down to build a dining area once my use for it was done, it helped ease the morale issues I was having with the too many infestations thing.   Also (and this goes back to what I mentioned earlier about not sending Doctorís or other specialists into the field) some of the stuff youíre going to want to build either canít be used or will provide reduced effectiveness if you donít have someone with the proper skill available to staff it.  For example, you canít even build the last the infirmary upgrade until you have someone with medical training available.  (I found an NPC who had been a paramedic and of course she was one of the ones who would wander off and get lost the most often.)  Which brings me up to another point.  In addition to being able to see whoís available to swap to the notepad tab for character will also tell you (in general terms) what each character is up to.  If theyíre out on a ďmissionĒ or ďlostĒ you wonít be able to swap to them.  Itís a handy way to keep tabs on them.

Sim mode sucks.  But there are things you can to hopefully prevent it from screwing you over.  Long play sessions.  Don't play this game unless you can dedicate a lot of time to gathering resources and progressing the story.  Small starts and stops open the door to sim mode to trash your progress.  For instance... the NPC's fucking love Twinkies.  I had over 60 stockpiled at one point.  Next time I logged in, less than 30.  Painkillers will also vanish like candy.  If morale is low when you quit don't be surprised if someone offed themselves when you get back.  The patch is said to protect "playable characters" but if your influence in the community is low you may not have control of all or even most of the community so even post patch there will likely still be some community risk to sim mode.  As it is now you may come back to find out one of your best characters died hunting a zombie or doing some other mission.  Also, when you get back from sim mode read all the log updates.  Find out what happened while you were gone.  And try to protect your hard won loot by being sneaky.  As in, try not bringing it all back to your base.  Make note of where stuff you will want later is and leave it where you found it.  The NPCs won't take your Twinkies if they're still on the shelf at the gas station.  Also keep an eye on what your resource requirements are for daily maintenance.  Your community will consume so much food, ammo, medicine, etc every day at a minimum.  Make sure they have it available.  That being said they will also trade shit out from under you when you're gone.  If you're saving building resources to upgrade something when the research is done, do the same strategy as your Twinkie hoarding.  Mark out locations you found it but don't take it back to base yet.  Trick those dirty bastiches that are trying to help you.


That's all I have for now.  I'll probably come back later to clean this up and format it or something.

And yea, massive write up was massive, I had to break it up across posts.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 09:48:05 am by TheLastOutlaw » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2013, 12:16:06 pm »

Thought I'd add on to your guide with my personal experience with Reflexes.

Reflexes make Ed a pretty awesome player character, placing him just below Marcus as my most used survivor. Upgrades to your reflexes boost your stamina regeneration. Level 3 allows you to pick one of two utility skills, Spin Kick and Sweep Kick. Both are effective in melee, as they are instant knockdowns against most zombies. Personally, I prefer the Sweep, as it hits more than one target and can get you out of a jam if cornered. Kick, smash, run like hell.

Level 6 of Reflexes will allow you to pick a defensive skill. One allows you to leapfrog over an enemy and knock them down, and the other allows you to counter attacks quickly. I picked the counterattack, and frankly, I don't much care for it as it requires you to be standing still. I have yet to try the leapfrog skill, but next playthrough I'm gonna give it a go.
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2013, 01:05:43 pm »

Cool, good info.  I'm pretty far along in my post patch game, I'll do some more updates when I'm finished with it.
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2013, 01:36:21 pm »

Wait what. You can pick "Skills"? How do you do that? I don't think the game ever told me.
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2013, 01:47:55 pm »

Actually while I'm thinking of it I'll post some info on the mini map and stealth.

The mini map is not intuitive.  There are some basics you can gather from it but the game doesn't (to my knowledge) ever fully explain it.  Obviously you have your character displayed (the arrow) as well as the immediate surroundings and I'm sure that by now you've figured out that the red dots are zombies but what about the blue circles?  What are the white dots?  The black dots?  All will be explained...

Red dots  Red dots represent zombies that have identified you and are actively hunting you.  Usually this means that they are pretty close by, be on your guard.  You'll often see slightly larger red dots, these represent special infected.  This can be anything from armored zombies to big 'uns and everything in between.  If you see a big red dot on your mini map it's in your best interest to put eyes on whatever it is ASAP so you can plan your attack or exit strategy accordingly.

Black dots  These are gunshots.  You'll notice a shockwave or pulse coming off of the black dot, that represents the area the noise covers.  Zombies within that area will be drawn towards the shots.

Blue circles  You'll notice that if you are not sneaking you'll have a small blue circle around your character.  This is your characters noise radius.  (It appears that smaller characters like Maya typically have a slightly smaller noise radius)  This circle will get wider the closer you are to your max encumbrance (or if you exceed it) and even wider yet if you're lugging a big duffle of supplies.  If you're fast searching a container and make a sound you'll see a pulse similar to a gunshot come off your character.  Their comment afterward will let you know whether or not you need to haul ass.  If they say, "Must not have been any zombies nearby" or something similar you're good to go. If they something along the lines of "oh shit that was loud," or "that must have got some attention" you either need to run or start barricading.

White dots  These were the least intuitive of the dots to figure out.  White dots represent zombies that have been alerted to a sound but have not specifically identified you yet.  You'll see these as you drive a car or honk a car horn, fire a gun, etc.  Zombies represented by a white dot will swarm towards the source of the sound, as long as you're not there when they arrive you'll be fine.  This is why if you park a car and get out, then return to it later it's often surrounded by zeds.

Additional tactics, aka knowing your movement and terrain.  Make note of the fact that your character will never achieve a full running speed when indoors.  You can get up to a mid pace jog but that's it.  Similarly, walking through bushes dense enough to hide in will also limit your mobility.  Zombies don't seem to be effected as much (if at all) by either.  Be particularly wary of ferals that may be hiding in the bushes waiting to pounce on you.  Like your ability to hide in a bush, if a feral is crouched in a bush it's not detectable by you or your mini map.  Their growling can give them away though.
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2013, 01:51:02 pm »

Wait what. You can pick "Skills"? How do you do that? I don't think the game ever told me.
As you level your skills you can unlock automatic skills (like the counterattack which I think is level three or four fighting) but you also have some you can unlock that you have to choose, like the utility skill and defense skills.  Select a character, pull out the notebook and go the tab marked by the star, it's shows what level their skills are at, how close they are to leveling and if you scroll down the skills you can choose.
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2013, 11:12:30 am »

Updates to the Guide:

Iím not going back and editing the original posts to add more because they were long enough to span multiple posts originally so Iíll just adding the updated info here.

Post patch changes:

Sim mode is no longer a character killer:  So after the patch a few things have changed.  Most notably characters no longer seem to die during simulation mode.  Which is good.  They can still fall ill or get injured though.  Also daily upkeep resource use still occurs.   But not logging in to find the characters Iíve spent a weekend maxing out had died while I wasnít playing is a very nice change.

Coffe addiction is no longer something to strive for:  Another HUGE change is to the way fatigue now works.   Previously I extolled the virtues of become a caffeine swilling murder machine and keeping the same character in play for weeks (game time) at  a time.  This is no longer a viable strategy.  Now, while fatigue can STILL be removed by drinking coffee, energy drinks, whatever, the TIRED status is no longer removed.  Meaning that very quickly you will become fatigued again.   I attempted to keep Maya out and about like I was used to by swilling coffee and popping trucker pills but eventually she had amassed a 60% fatigue penalty that all the coffee in the world wasnít making a dent in.  It took her days to get back on her feet again.  I still carry a cup of coffee with me on most of my runs but now itís just to get me topped off so I can get back to base and swap characters.  This change forces you to rotate characters out which means you canít rely on buffing up one or two uber characters to do all the heavy lifting.  It will also make getting the ďPerform fifty tasks with one characterĒ achievement harder to get now, glad I got that out of the way the first week the game was out.

Speaking of achievements Iíll probably add an achievement list and how I got them later in this guide but for nowÖ updated tactics.

Reflexes redux:  To tack onto what TeeZee said about reflexes I can concur that reflexes are awesome.  I will clarify that the Spin Kick is UNARMED only so skip it, go for the sweep kick.  And the leapfrog is bad ass.  You basically hop over a zombie which instantly stuns them and drops them to their knee so can either easily finish them or chain leapfrog out of a horde and haul ass to safety.  I have not tried it against special infected but my gut says I donít want to try leap frogging a feral or bigun.   

Updated tactics:  Since my original tactics post I have used a character to specialize in edged weapons and I still greatly prefer blunt.  Edged weapons give you a chance to decapitate which when it works is great, you can take a zed out in one hit sometimes.  But when it doesnít work it takes six hits to dispatch them which is a LOT of swinging.  I prefer the blunt where if I DONíT get a killing blow in the first two hits the third will knock them down where I can either finish them with the uninterruptible finishing move or move on to another zombie.  Also edged weapons seem to wear out much faster, my machetes and kukris reaching damaged condition almost twice as fast as a wrench or crowbar.  My earlier warnings about bringing a spare with and not allowing weapons to break still apply.  Also back when I made my first post I hadnít really messed with the counterattack yet.  Basically when you reach a high enough combat level (either three or four) you can execute a counterattack which basically boils down to hitting the x button immediately after dodging an attack.

Updated anti Bigun tactics;  Iíve since determined that ramming a bigun with a car until the car is on the verge of exploding then ensuring its within the blast radius when the car does explode makes these much more manageable.  Use caution if you have NPCs with you since they often arenít bright enough to get out of the way of the explosion.
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2013, 11:28:44 am »

What the hell, Iíll deal with unlocks and achievements now.

First up, avatar awards: 

Zombie Mask:  Youíll get this one just for exploring all the cabins and buildings around the Tanner Lake starting area.  By the way, I HIGHLY recommend doing this exploring BEFORE you back to the visitor lodge.  Once you go back you start the mission to go to the church and you then canít swap between Marucs and Maya until the mission is completed by reaching the church.  Do your looting and exploring while you can swap between the two and youíll maximize your initial loot haul. 

Shark Hoodie:  This sweet looking hoodie will probably be the last avatar award you unlock because it takes a decent amount of time/resources.  First up, build a training area.  Next, upgrade it to a full on dojo.  Third, wait for a survivor group to offer to trade resources to use your dojo.  This is random but it shouldnít take too long.  I messed around doing loot runs about an hour before I got an offer for a group to give me three ammo in exchange for using it.  Last, wait for the training to complete at which point it will unlock.  How long this takes varies on whether or not you have the patch.  Pre patch itís 24 hours.  Post patch itís an hour and a half.   

Swine and Bovine Mask:  Build an outpost in a Swine and Bovine.  There are at least two of these.  One is right next to the cell tower you do the survey mission from shortly after joining the church, the other is directly across the street from the Snyderís Trucking Home Site.  So you can get this unlock pretty early in the game.
Achievements:
Cannibal Family picnic.  You get this reaching the lodge at Tanner mountain.  Unmissable.

Holly Rolling.   You get this upon reaching the church, unmissable.

It was just a police action.   If youíre playing the story to completion you wonít miss this one either.
Home on the Grange.   Quentin will ask you to look into Beccaís past at some point.  When you get the answer, donít give it to him.  Then this will unlock.

Arrested Developments.    Once the courthouse is overrun this will unlock.  Again if youíre playing through the whole story you wonít miss this.

Gun thugs.   After some initial friction with the Wilkersons youíll be asked to broker a deal for them as a neutral third party.   Completing it may make you feel like a dick when itís over but youíll unlock this achievement and get access to high end weapons from the Wilkersons so it all works out.

Pest Control.  The description say destroy five infestations in one day.  When I got this unlock that was when a day meant 24 hours, post patch a day has been changed in many respects to equal game day which is between ninety minutes and two hours so Iím not sure how much time you have to do this.  But that being said your strategy here is find a bunch of infestations and then clear them.   Make good use of vantage points which can help you identify them and also missions to clear them will come up from time to time.  This may be one of the achievements that is now harder to get post patch.  With the earlier out of control infestation problem this was relatively easy to get.

Watch the Birdie!  Youíll get this in the story mission to save Lilyís brother.

I can see my house from here.  Youíll unlock this when you complete your first survey from the water tower at Tanner Lake.
Survivor.  Beat the story mode. Donít worry, after beating it the game it will revert to your last save prior to beating it so you can keep sandboxing.
Land Usage.  Build every facility type.  This isnít as hard as it sounds.  You donít have to upgrade them so once theyíre built you can tear them down and build something else.  Also Iím pretty sure that facilities already in your home base count towards this because I never built a storage area (which Snyderís Trucking already had) and got credit for it. 

Home Improvement.  Build a facility.  If youíre going for Land Usage youíll get this.  If you build any upgrade at all youíll get this and seriously, you want to build them, they help a lot.

Iíll be there for you.  Get 500 fame.  Just keep doing missions and youíll get this eventually.  This is NOT influence, this achievement tracks Fame which is what caps your max permanent influence.

Mercy shot.  Kill an infected member of the community.   This appears to be story based though it can occur outside of the first scripted sequence that always appears.  If a community member comes down with the sickness (uh-wa-ah-ah-ah) theyíll basically ask you to take them out and shoot them.  You might feel bad for a second.  Then the achievement will pop.

Come and Knock on our door.  You get this if another survivor group moves into your home base with you.  Occasionally youíll run into other groups of survivors holed up in houses or whatever and you can talk to them, trade with them, etc.  There will be a few times they may ask you to help defend their home from a wave of zombies and how well you do at these defense missions will increase your trust level with them.  Eventually if the trust is high enough theyíll call you one last time to defend them while they pack their shit, then you escort them back to your home base and boom, new playable characters and a new achievement.  This one is missable, make sure you bring your A game to these missions.

Everywhere you look.  Get fifteen community members.  The community will pick up a few members here and there throughout the story but the only way to get this achievement is to get a few different groups of other survivors to move in as detailed in the above achievement.

Manifest Destiny.  Build 8 outposts.  The description of this one is misleading.  Itís not build 8 outposts, itís have 8 outposts at the same time.  Which you can only do with one of the bigger home bases like Snyderís Trucking (my personal favorite) McReadys Farm or the Fairgrounds.  Has anyone used the fairgrounds?  It opens up so late in the game Iím already so entrenched at Snyderís I donít feel like moving.  But I digress.  Outpost are beneficial, you want them so this should be a no brainer. 

Moving on up.  Relocate your home base.  This is discussed in a story mission but ultimately the choice is yours whether you move from the church so this one is missable.

Rule number 1.  Max out any characters cardio.  Some characters start at three stars in cardio already giving you a nice head start on this one.   Just run everywhere and it will unlock eventually.

Trust me, Iím an expert.  Get any character to specialize in anything.  Specialization skills are only unlockable if you get all seven stars in a skill so get to grinding.

Horde Hoard.  Destroy ten hordes in one day.  Get in a good sturdy pickup and this one is easy.  Youíll have it in no time.

Ya always were an A-hole Gorman.  Discussed earlier but to recap, get mauled to death, have a grenade selected and as you are being ripped apart pull the pin.  You MUST hit Rbumper to pull the pin, they wonít do it just because the grenade is selected.

Torn apart.  Get killed by zombies.  Stumble into a horde, get eaten.  Or if you really want to be literally torn apart find a feral or bigun.

Get yo freak on.  Kill one of every special infected.  Not really hard, youíll kill a bigun at the Wilkersonís in a story mission, hunts for the rest come up all the time. 

The Bruce.  Jaws references are cool right?  Catch at least three zombies in a propane tank explosion.  This isnít especially hard, propane tanks are pretty common.  A lot of houses even have small ones attached to grills in the backyard.  But if you want to be really sure go to a farm house or business where the tank is one of the industrial, size of a car, types and stand way back.  Big fun.

Double Dead.  You have to use a character with the powerhouse ability and unlock the special attack that allows you to grab two zombies and crack their heads together.  Then go out and find two zombies.

Gotta enjoy the little things.  Kill a zombie with the door of your car.  Thereís a few ways to do this. If zombie grabs onto the drivers side of your car mash the x button to face bash it with the door until it dies and falls off.  Or drive through a horde with the x button held down and the open door will catch a few.  Or just hold the door open as you pass a zombie at sixty miles per hour and wonder how your elbow didnít just shatter.

Get outta my dreams.  Kill one of every zombie freak with a car.  This really isnít all that hard.  It does not have to be the same car for one thing.  Armored zeds are no more maneuverable than a normal one, ferals may be a pain in the ass to run over because they dodge well but one solid hit and theyíre toast and make sure you abandon the car immediately after hitting a bloater so the gas cloud doesnít kill you.  The only two that are problematic are screamers because they rarely appear outside though when clearing an infestation you can lure then out where they are more vulnerable to being roadkill.  Which leaves the big bastards.  For this one I strongly recommend having at least two sturdy pickups in good condition available.  (Pickups are more durable than most cars and I know I was able to do this with two of them.)  Get up a good head of steam and plow into him, most likely you just blew both front tires and lowered the top speed of the pickup to about 20 mph but back up and do it again.  Repeat until it catches fire, swap pickups and repeat again until it drops.  When doing this I did not allow the vehicle to explode because I wasnít sure if he died in the explosion whether or not it would count.

Vehicular Zombicide.  Run over 250 zombies.  If youíre in the habit of using a car to grind hordes into paste when you see them youíll get this one fast.

Badass.  Complete 50 mission or activities with one character.  Pre patch I got this quickly because I used coffee and trucker pills to keep Marcus in the field 24/7.  Post patch it will definitely take longer, just make sure youíre trying to use the same two or three characters as much as possible until it pops.
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2013, 12:56:05 am »

Reflexes redux:  To tack onto what TeeZee said about reflexes I can concur that reflexes are awesome.  I will clarify that the Spin Kick is UNARMED only so skip it, go for the sweep kick.  And the leapfrog is bad ass.  You basically hop over a zombie which instantly stuns them and drops them to their knee so can either easily finish them or chain leapfrog out of a horde and haul ass to safety.  I have not tried it against special infected but my gut says I donít want to try leap frogging a feral or bigun.


Leapfrog is NOT effective against those particular nasties. Prior to the patch, sweep kick would knock down a feral, but I've noticed that this is no longer the case. That said, reflexes is still absolutely fantastic. I regularly use maxed-out Reflexes characters as scavengers and scouts. With sweep kick and leapfrog, along with a little skill, you won't even need a weapon.

Updated anti Bigun tactics;  Iíve since determined that ramming a bigun with a car until the car is on the verge of exploding then ensuring its within the blast radius when the car does explode makes these much more manageable.  Use caution if you have NPCs with you since they often arenít bright enough to get out of the way of the explosion.

Cars are indeed the easiest way to take out a big bastard, but hey, maybe you would like to keep that car. My preferred tactic is being on foot armed with a decent melee weapon and a firearm for backup. Know your surroundings. Keep your back against a wall. When tubby charges you, dodge at the last minute. He will barrel into the wall and get stunned, allowing you to open a can of whoop-ass on his back. Repeat as necessary.

There is a story mission opportunity to increase a survivor's WITS skill. When Jacob asks you to look around for home bases, take him to every base available before making the last stop at the Savini residence. Each home site discovered will grant a boost to wits. This is a great way to give your main scavenger a leg up earlier in the game.

Supply Outposts are currently broken. Do not rely on outposts to decrease your resource consumption. Instead, the best way to keep a self sufficient base is
  • A maximum of 12 survivors, with an expert for every facility and a counselor for morale
  • A greenhouse with a gardener for a steady supply of food
  • A dojo, upgraded watchtower, and library in order to allow outside survivors to use them in exchange for ammo
  • An infirmary and cooking area to prevent illness
  • Only collect building materials and medicine as needed, as these resources are finite
  • Fuel is not necessary unless you want to make bombs or keep your outposts trapped. There is no other use for it.

Survivors killed while on a mission will not drop morale. If you want to kill off a dead weight member of your group, but don't want to take the hit to your morale, wait for them to offer a mission. Then proceed to feed them to hordes, ferals, big'uns...whatever you want.

NPC survivors killed by regular or armored zeds will always commit suicide with a grenade, even if you never gave them one. Keep this in mind if your ally starts yelling taunts when downed. Getting caught in the blast radius could very well take you down with them.

Reckless driving and friendly fire can cause serious injuries to your NPCs. It doesn't always happen, but it can. Please, drive and shoot responsibly.

Progressing in the Wilkerson storyline will break the randomly generated neighboring enclave mechanic. Each mission adds a new, invincible enclave to the map that you cannot interact with, which will close up the slots used for random groups. Also, the houses these enclaves tend to spawn in have been reported to contain lots of guns, so be sure to loot them before moving on. I choose to stop progressing at the mission "Accusations" until I'm content with survivors I've gotten from neighboring enclaves. The Army mission "Insubordination" adds a new dead weight enclave as well. However, this one can be killed by leading hordes inside, therefore freeing up a random slot.

There is a cap on items you can have in storage. By the time you start looting Marshall, you'll want to start getting rid of your lower quality weapons and spare small backpacks.

You can survive falling from a great height and being incapacitated by it, but only if there are no zombies nearby to come and eat you. Try not to fall, either way.

The simulation will suddenly turn your group into hungry, pill-popping stoners when you go offline. DO NOT stockpile snacks and painkillers, as you'll just end up losing them when you log off due to the simulation providing them based on your food and medicine stock, which for some reason deletes all but the ones added. A popular way to keep excess snacks from going to waste is to grind cardio with them before logging off. Sprint while popping snacks to keep your stamina up until you run out of snacks. Quick, easy cardio xp.

Noisemakers are your friends. If you're caught between a rock and a bunch of zombies with no weapon, no painkillers, and no snacks, chances are...you're gonna feel pretty boned. This is where noisemakers come into play. A well tossed firecracker can distract enough zombies long enough for you to get away. I recommend keeping them on scavengers or low-level characters you're trying to train in case of emergencies.

When driving the cop car, you can turn on the siren by pressing A. It is also one of the loudest noises in the game, so get ready to attract tons of zeds!

I wanna post something on the home bases later, but I'm beat.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 12:59:07 am by TeeZee » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2013, 06:18:38 am »

Progressing in the Wilkerson storyline will break the randomly generated neighboring enclave mechanic. Each mission adds a new, invincible enclave to the map that you cannot interact with, which will close up the slots used for random groups. Also, the houses these enclaves tend to spawn in have been reported to contain lots of guns, so be sure to loot them before moving on. I choose to stop progressing at the mission "Accusations" until I'm content with survivors I've gotten from neighboring enclaves. The Army mission "Insubordination" adds a new dead weight enclave as well. However, this one can be killed by leading hordes inside, therefore freeing up a random slot.

There is a cap on items you can have in storage. By the time you start looting Marshall, you'll want to start getting rid of your lower quality weapons and spare small backpacks.
Now those I did not know.  That explains why I have so many enclaves on my map but never get calls from them for help.
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2013, 07:12:05 am »

With the release of the new DLC it seems like the perfect time to dust this thread off.

My first impressions of the new DLC are pretty positive.  It has no story to speak of, just you, Lily and the valley full of zombies.  You start out with nothing and have to promptly search for a community to join.  The first one I stumbled across was at MacReady's farm, I don't if any of the other sites are available at game start.  The goal is get an RV to escape the valley with which is supposed to take you, Lily and six hand picked survivors to the next level which is the same valley, just with less resources and more zombies.  There are reportedly 10 levels. 

Level one already has less vehicles than the campaign and they seem to be more fragile.  Killing zombies with the drivers side door has become an essential tactic for extending the life of the vehicles.  Zombies spawn much more agressively as well, making infestations and hordes attacking home base pretty common.  Heavy weapons seem to have had their hit detection made more generous which makes mistimed swings more forgiving and makes them more useful.

I'm working on unlocking all the "hero" characters and will post info on them as I gather it.
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