NEO Scavenger

From Before I Play
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Character Creation

  • Character creation is a huge deal. Trapping is almost mandatory, as it lets you make friction fires. Heat and boiled (clean) water are two of the most crucial resources in the game.
  • Most of the perks are very good, but some especially-useful ones for a new player are Botany and Medic. Eagle Eye can be bought, and Metabolism is a very mixed blessing, avoid those two. Hacking, Mechanics, and Electronics can be useful, but only if you know what you're doing, save them until you know the game better. Only get Strong if you're also getting Melee.
  • Myopia is a fairly harmless flaw, and you can get it removed for a chunk of money later (at the same place where you can buy Eagle Eye). The Metabolism flaw also slightly increases healing rate, which makes it worth considering if you find yourself killed more often than starving/dehydrating to death.

Survival

  • Early survival is heavily RNG-dependent. If it starts out freezing and your initial scavenging turns up nothing, you're probably going to die of hypothermia and there's nothing you can do about it.
  • A reliable way to make clean water is your most important resource, followed close behind by 'ways to carry clean water'. Drinking unpurified water will get you Giardia and death by dehydration quickly. Find a metal sauce pan as soon as you can, but a soup can will work too. You can boil water in glass bottles as well, but it will destroy the bottle in the process.
  • Never eat unidentified mushrooms or berries if you don't want to die. (You'll need Botany to identify them.) Blue berries are always safe though. As for the others,
    red berries and mushrooms have a 50% chance to be poisonous, white berries are always poisonous.
  • Conversely, stuffing your face full of safe berries even when you're full is a decent way to keep your thirst bar from depleting too quickly.
  • Trapping also lets you make preserved meat which makes you thirstier but is overall better. It also lets you make fur items which really help with freezing.
  • Botany's ability to make tannin tea can't be understated - antiseptic is really useful towards long term survival. If you don't have tannin tea then you'll have to make due with whiskey. Don't neglect your cuts, and although you ideally want both boiled rags and antiseptic doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
  • Skills like Trapping populates recipes to work with in the crafting menu so explore those.
  • Relatively early on, you can get a quest to go to Camp Grayling from several different people in the game. Camp Grayling is actually the endgame, so don't tackle it immediately. You'll need to be well-kitted out before you take it on. A foil poncho is a must, too.
  • Your first long-term goal is to head toward the Glow. The Glow is the single best "base" in the game, so long as you're not dumb enough to mess with the guards. Scavenge as much as you can along the way but getting to the southeast corner of the map is your first real priority.
  • Don't be a hero unless you're willing to risk dying a hero.
  • Don't eat human meat unless you're starving to death.
  • Avoid the guys with blue sashes.

Combat

  • Combat is generally something to be avoided, but picking a combat skill is useful as it'll allow you to make a broad spear, which is probably the best all-around melee weapon, with great damage and a range of 3, while also being very cheap in resources. Melee dominates in the early game, and Ranged is also very powerful with even a simple sling, but ammo weight/size can become an issue if you don't have some very good containers for it all.
  • Don't be afraid to avoid/flee from fights, especially when your enemy has a better weapon than you, or outnumbers you. "There are old scavengers, and there are bold scavengers, but there are very few old, bold scavengers."
  • If you do get into combat, never attack an enemy unless they're Vulnerable, stunned, prone, etc. Getting hit is really bad so being very defensive (dodging, parrying, etc) is your best bet. Flurry attacks are also usually not worth it since you lose a turn. Ranged ambush attacks when hidden are ridiculously powerfu - ven a mere sling stone will wreck an unsuspecting enemy. But you need Ranged and Hiding skill to make the best use of that.
  • Certain skills also give you more combat options, which generally serve as better ways to make enemies Vulnerable.
  • When it comes to dealing with tougher hostiles, a lot of the strategy involves luring them toward each other, letting them kill each other, and looting their corpses afterwards. DMC guards in particular have amazing loot, and the only way to really get it is to have bandits/raiders/dogmen attack them, since taking on a DMC guard is suicide, even if you win.

SPOILERS BELOW

  • Secret Noob Build:
    Strong, Melee, Trapping, Botany, Myopia Flaw, Fast Metabolism Flaw. Use both Strong and Melee on the dogman, then skin it with Trapping and a shard of glass from the window. Congratulations, you now have a solid build, a very good cloak, and the opportunity to get a secret perk when you talk to Hatter.

  • For a much easier start,
    go seven hexes north of the Cryo center, to Zom Zom's, and give your bracelet to the guy at the end of the event, without asking about the deal
    . You'll lose out on some things that make the endgame easier, in exchange for a pretty big haul of early-game stuff.
  • If you want
    your bank account in DMC
    , you'll need either
    Hiding + Mechanics
    ,
    Electrician and a way to zoom your view
    , or
    Hacking and Lockpicking
    . To follow up, you'll need another skill, but basically any of them can be used at this point, with some preparation. Your reward for all this hard work?
    A bit of backstory, and a visit from the police... who will probably exile you from DMC
    .