Dead State

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  • Your stats are the things that will change very little in game. So pick what kind a role you want your character to play in combat. Melee will want decent Strength and Vigor at the least to deal and take damage as well as be able to use heaiver armor and weapons effectively. Ranged will want Agility and Precision since guns generally require alot of action points to use and ammo is a luxury at the early to mid game, especially higher caliber ones so you don't wanna be missing. A jack of all trades stat won't be too crippling however.
  • Skill wise you can be more flexible as doing things you need to do to survive will give you a trickle of them throughout the game.
  • Melee will of course help in combat, a few points here at start or your first early gains won't hurt even if your playing a less active role in the front lines. Range depends on if you want to do guns, but you'll get early allies who can fill that role. Leadership is mostly wrangling in any issues in the shelter from other survivors (and you will get plenty of them.) This generally is used to avoid mood or morale losses from complaints and generally lay down the law when arguments break out. Its use in combat are the "orders" you can give during the milestone choices. Negotiation is useful in lowering the amount you might have to "bride" a whinny survivor and also for any issues, much like leadership. Medical helps with healing and some issues involving medical expertise. If your making yourself a battle medic, you'll want a good number in here but if not you'll find others who can fill the role. Science is all about crafting once you get a lab up. I don't know how useful it is, but it seems you can upgrade weapons and make unique armor later on with it. Its also used to disable alarms that some buildings have. Mechanical is also used in crafting, but mostly handy to lock pick doors. Survival lets you move faster on the world map and gives chances at finding harvest nodes. The group will use the highest ranking among the party to calculate this.
  • Early on, once you get the work board and fix the fence. You want to repair the fridge to help preserve fresh food. After that, the wooden fence or watch tower are good choices as early on you'll get allies who will want those built. The recycler is a good early build as well, to break down unneeded armor items and weapons for parts to build more upgrades. Chicken Coop and Garden will help with early food needs. Stick to exploring the area around your shelter as the encounters there tend to be easier.
  • Try and be back at the shelter before 8, otherwise the party will get the "fatigued" debuff which hurts their stats. You can make them guzzle a energy drink to get rid of it if you really need them in the field that day.
  • Noise is deadly since the Reanimated update. Zombies are now far more sensitive to it and prone to investigating now. The "spawn zombies on map edges" during loud spurts of it is also more far more aggressive, so if you get into a fight that makes alot of noise (gun fire mostly, but breaking down doors as well) either be ready for more zombies (or possibly humans) or have a bug out plan.
  • Taking in every new survivor, especially early game is going to put a strain on your food so be ready to raid for it.
  • Being nice to people with "Sub-leader" trait will save you headaches, as they'll lend you support during crisis' even if their against the choice you made which greatly softens morale loss.
  • Blunt for zombies. Blades or guns for humans. Remember this. However learn to spot what armor type human opponents are wearing, they'll get the same benefits as you do from it. Leather jacks offer slashing protection, ballistic vest from bullets, bike helmets from blunt, etc. Try to have everyone carry a blunt and a blade weapon.
  • Two handed weapons like the sledge hammer can attack diagonally, this is great for corner attacks or narrow kill zones with someone blocking a one tile entry way and someone else smacking the target freely.
  • Even with no points in leadership, your character will have the "GO!" order. Look for a megaphone icon in the lower left. Using it lets you make a party member of your choice go after you. Helpful to say, have a melee juggernaut finish off a dangerous opponent or letting someone in a bad spot flee. Orders cost no AP to use can don't seem require line of sight or any distance requirements.
  • High survival seems to slightly break the game If you spec for finding and gathering harvest nodes. Once you get to 6+ you seem to start tripping over random nodes and spending a day just gathering can result in hundreds of pounds of fresh food.
  • Most encountered survivors can be recruited without leadership/negotiation through proper dialogue options. There are a few however, that require a high negotiation to recruit later in the game.
  • Make a choice early on if you want to do a "as many survivors as possible" run or more minimalist. Having 40 guys is helpful when you need stuff done around the shelter or making sure you have the right person for the right task when out in the field. However this cost a massive amount of food daily and later in the game, the slightest drop in morale tends to cause a cascade of 8-10 of them lining outside your door to bitch and moan about how your Hitler and the shelter sucks because you didn't bring back enough fucking candy bars last outing.
  • Claw Hammers are the best single handed weapon against zombies at the start. Bats as a two handed option. Their lowish AP cost and undead damage mod. Later on the expendable baton makes a good replacement for the hammers. Sledge hammers are a "all or nothing" weapon. Their high AP cost means you only get one swing and I found it better to have multiple attacks.
  • Even with no/low range and or perception, a sawed off shotgun will still deal incredible damage point blank and rarely miss. Its a good backup weapon on your main character or medic in case things go south early game.
  • Skip the snub nose. Its pretty much a pop gun and your 38 ammo is better used for the hunting rifle. Likewise, don't bother with the hunting shotgun, save the shells for the sawed off, police or combat shotgun.
  • I didn't find bows that useful. You have to constantly make ammo for them to have a decent supply and the AP cost/damage ratio is underwhelming. Even if you get the dedicated "archer" survivor.
  • The game seems to vomit 9mm rounds at you so don't be shy on using the 9 mm.
  • Frag and tear gas grenades are the bane of you and your human opponents. Use them when their bunched up and keep your guys spread out.
  • Save the military grade stuff for tougher encounters later in the game and never waste them on zombies.
  • As a final gun tip, make sure everyone's weapons are loaded when you load into a map.
  • Listen to the radio every morning in the office Davis hangs out in. you'll sometimes get the location of a place to raid or possible survivors.
  • Lloyd
    is the best survivor in the game and gets insane stat and skills as time passes. He's worth his "asking price" when you find him. Talk to him in the shelter and use 5 rations or a coffee bean luxury item to bribe him into coming out to the field with you in the morning for the day if your expecting heavy combat. You won't regret it.
  • The 6 sub-leaders are
    Vic, Todd, Paul, Regina, Sandy and Lloyd
    . You're forced to take the first two but the other 4 you have to recruit. Having all 6 will be a massive pain in the ass as its impossible to keep all 6 happy enough with you to constantly support you without micromanaging luxury item bribes. However, two of them (
    Paul and Todd
    ) can not be "bought" by giving luxury items only through how you handle the shelter events with them.
  • Keep a eye out on the text box when wandering a map. Sometimes you'll see a NPC talk/warn you of their presence. You can avoid/prepare for some set "ambushes" if you do so.
  • If a NPC baddie has a name and not a generic title be sure to search them as theirs a good chance they will have a unique weapon on them.