Zombie Survival 101

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So, it seems there are several oft repeated questions regarding Dead Zone and I’ve thought it might be helpful if I share what I have learned about the game in a fancy little help thread.
That being said, I don’t think I’m “pr0” or anything – I’m only lvl 19 and what I’ll be writing about PvP is based mostly on second hand knowledge and a little bit of analytical thinking, as I’ve so far managed to avoid getting raided too much and I’m not big on the idea of ganking people myself either.

First off, the class overview:

- Recon: Recons’ main selling points, stat-wise are great speed and ranged attack. They also have the ability to spot traps from a much greater distance than other classes, which is probably handy in PvP. Recons also come with some very useful weapon specs – bladed weapon spec helps offset their horrid melee skill (though their survivability in melee still leaves much to be desired due to lowish hp – when running a melee recon, run him either with an armored vest, a medic or a large group) and assault rifle spec gives you a ranged option with very nice balance of range, firepower and ammo consumption. Where recons really shine though, and the main reason why many players prefer them over fighters, is the sniper rifle spec, sniper rifles being currently a dominant force in PvP. More on this later.

- Fighter: Fighters boast the best HP in the game, which coupled with high all around weapon skills means they can both hit hard and take a beating. Fighters’ main weaknesses are slow movement speed and the fact they offer nothing besides brutal muscle. Fighters’ weapon specs include assault rifles, much like with the recon, as well as LMGs and all melee weapons. LMGs boast extremely high DPS at range on par with assault rifles making them a force to be reckoned with. This is counterbalanced by their heavy ammo consumption, but since compound defense doesn’t take ammo, they make for a great defensive weapon, especially against zombies. Melee boost, coupled with the fighter’s good HP, makes him a veritable close combat monster. He can still get swarmed, of course, especially if left unattended, but it’s much less of a threat than with other classes.

- Scavenger: Unlike the previous two, scavengers can be considered a utility class – their main ability is scavenging, which lets them loot faster and get extra stuff from PvE zones. This is huge since looting normally takes a good while and ties down your group to one spot – scav means you can move on much faster and the extra loot really makes itself felt too. Scavengers’ combat abilities are perhaps not quite as impressive as their sticky fingers, but shouldn’t be overlooked. They have low ranged skill, moderate melee skill and low/moderate hp, weapon specs being pistols, shotguns and blunt. This means they generally perform best with blunt weapons (though wakizashi is overpowered enough to make it a very good melee alternative), but shotguns (tactical shotguns in particular) can also be useful in a pinch thanks to their high innate accuracy and knockback – pistols, sadly, don’t seem to offer much more than shotguns and are generally outdone by on level SGs both in terms of accuracy and damage.

- Medic: Much like scavengers, medics rely on their special ability to offset their lackluster combat skills. While medics have the worst combat performance of all classes, their healing is amazingly quick, so much so, that with a little skill, they can tank pretty much any number of zombies indefinitely simply by taking a step back, healing while zombies finish their attack animations, taking a step back again once they close in, healing again and so on – 3 or 4 steps should be enough for a full heal. This, coupled with the fact medics can, of course, heal other survivors as well, makes them an extremely valuable PvE class IMO. Their PvP utility seems somewhat diminished however, especially in defense – while I’ve read AI uses healing on nearby allies, I’m not sure if a medic could handle a single sniper, much less two or three and current PvP metagame seems to revolve around focused sniper fire. Medics’ weapon specs are pistols, SMGs and blades. While medics perform quite poorly with pistols and SMGs due to their low ranged skill and thus low accuracy, melee weapons have high innate accuracy, meaning a medic can still contribute to the group’s DPS quite well by swinging a blade and the fact they are the second fastest class means you can get them in and out of the action as necessary.

- Engineer: Engineers are often considered to be an underpowered class, and not without good reason. While their melee and improvised weapon skills are high and they have a good balance of speed and hp for a melee class, improvised weapons largely overlap with melee weapons, leaving the engineer with few ranged options, and generally not very good ones either. It doesn’t help, that their only weapon spec is “improvised weapons” and all of those require fuel to make – higher level, good quality crafted weapons can cost well over 30 fuel a pop not counting prerequisite items, making engineers a fuel intensive class. Engineers have more than just raw muscle power to them though, they are also the class, that excels at disarming traps – they do it faster and each attempt has a higher success rate. However, every class can disarm traps, just not quite as well, and speed in this case will only really matter much if you’re disarming under fire, which is both unusual and risky.

Overall, the only class I wouldn’t recommend using at all are engineers. Scavengers and medics are great for PvE, recons rule PvP and soldiers offer an interesting compromise between a PvP character and a PvE tank.

- Leader: Leader is a much more complex class than the other survivors, since it can be levelled in so many diffrent ways. First off, no matter what you do, your leader will always have the highest level. That’s because normal survivors earn xp for achievements, buildings, quests and any missions they personally participate in. Leaders are an exception, since they don’t have to participate in a mission to get the xp for it. Now, what skills are worth picking for your leader?
a) Fighting – I’ve used to think it’s a bad idea since leaders have no weapon spec and with weapon specs being an important part of the combat balance, that’d mean they wouldn’t be able to use their fightning skill to the fullest. That’s true, but there’s one other important thing to consider: your leader is always your highest level character. At the start, the diffrence won’t be very big, but as you get better at the game and send smaller and smaller parties to scavenge while getting more and more new survivors, you’ll notice, that the extra xp your leader gets from the missions he doesn’t participate in really makes him outpace the other characters. This means your leader is the only one with the access to your best weapons, which helps offset the lack of weapon spec somewhat. Overall, I wouldn’t say it’s a bad ability to invest points in, especially as your main ability if you want to level several diffrent skills rather than focusing on just one, but it’s also definitely not my favourite. update Leaders DO get weapon spec after all – the spec icon does not appear anywhere, but their DPS shows an increase indicating weapon spec in everything. This actually makes a fighting leader look pretty neat…
b) Scavenging – Since the Luck skill hasn’t been yet implemented in the game, this “only” boosts your scavenging speed and the amount of stuff looted. Now, you’ve probably noticed every survivor class is specialized in a diffrent role with each utility class having a high score in their respective utility skill. If you’ve read through all the text so far (grats on that, seriously, I tend to textwall uncontrollably), you may have also noticed scavengers are kinda cool (they are). What I didn’t mention is, their scavenging skill isn’t really very high, when compared for example, to the medic’s healing or recon’s ranged. This means a focused scav leader can help a lot with your compound’s supplies. Curiously enough, scav leaders are diffrent from regular scavs in that they can heal, albeit slowly. This means they don’t need a medic to babysit them and can instead use a soldier as a bodyguard (soldiers are preferrable as they can take a beating – non-medic leaders heal too slowly to do it mid-combat.)
c) Engineering – Much like a regular engineer – you’ll do traps well (very well even) and you’ll have access to some decent melee weapons, but you’ll be nigh useless in a firefight and you’ll need to pay with fuel for your gear. Meh.
d) Medic – Perhaps the most useful thing about medics is the fact they heal at all meaning your group won’t die because of attrition as every time a zombie hits somebody, their HP is gone for the remainder of the mission. That they do it so quickly is great, but not quite as important. I wouldn’t personally take healing as my leader’s main skill, but it might make for an interesting addition for a fightning spec leader.
e) Recon – Makes you spot traps better and, more importantly, move faster. An interesting ability, though definitely not one to blindly soak skill points into. Much like healing, I’d consider taking a few levels of this on a combat leader to make him a little more flexible.

 
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Where to get…

…cloth – early on, you’ll find some junk, that can be salvaged into cloth in residences. You can also get it from salvaging gear from hospitals and police stations and warehouses and hardware stores usually have a few cloth racks too. Regular stores tend to give some cloth as well, more than small warehouses, regular hardware stores or even regular residences (though I think large residences are still better), but you usually won’t find much else in them except for food and water. My personal favourites are regular warehouses and large hardware stores – regular warehouses are slightly better for cloth than stores or large residences while offering large amounts of wood, metal and often nails while large hardware stores are better yet, often giving massive amounts of resources – I’ve gotten well over 1K of each on some good runs. They’re great for nails too.

…nails – Nails can be obtained directly from scavenging, but you’ll usually get them by recycling one of the following items: Small Wood Box (5 nails), Wood Box (10), Large Wood Box (15), Small Toolbox (5), Large Toolbox (10), Broom Handle (3), Broken Chair (5). To get either nails or those items, look in hardware stores, warehouses and residences, in that order. The bigger the building, the better your odds, as always.

…new, better weapons – Mostly gun stores and security companies, police will also do in a pinch. Streets also have weapons listed as being likely to drop there, but from my experience, they’re so-so for gun runs. You’ll notice, that the items looted depend on the type of container looted. You may also notice, that security company maps are usually laid out to be very linear with the entrance on one side and the gun lockers on the other. I usually run to the lockers right away. clean the zombies, loot and make my way back to the entrance from there. This way, you can get to the important stuff first and your survivors won’t get bogged down by a crowd of zombies while running back. If you’re looking for a specific weapon type, the wiki (http://tlaststand.wikia.com/) lists the minimum level at which each weapon drops in that weapon’s entry.

…car batteries – Mostly from wrecked cars on the streets, but you can also find them in the warehouses.

…rare stuff – Rare stuff is, by definition, rare. In fact, I’ve had downright rotten luck with it. There is a way to skewer the odds in your favour, but it is a tad exploity… Basically, if you reload the page while in a mission, the area is locked as if you finished the mission, but you lose all the loot and xp you’ve picked up on that run. Instead, your survivors are returned home immediately. This means, that if you have several high level locations, that you want to check for rare loot, but the high mission cooldowns mean you won’t be able to clear them all, you can simply reload if you don’t get anything worthwile and try a diffrent place with the same survivors immediately.

Random tips

- sniper rifles have high innate accuracy. This means they’re a good weapon for classes with low ranged skill like medics or engineers.
- Knockback is a valuable ability – when a zombie is knocked back, it’s interrupted. Knockback attacks also have a chance to temporarily stun the enemy or force them a few steps back. In the latter case, knocking a zombie into other zombies causes damage equal to base attack damage (critical damage, at least from backstab, reverts to its base value) to the zombies rammed by the original target.
- I’ve mentioned how medics can heal, take a step back when the zombie starts attacking, heal again and so on. This also works for regular melee combat – attack, step back, attack, step back… Most melee weapons have slightly longer range than zombies do, so if you get your timing right, you can attack with impunity. Mind the dogs though – their fast movement and high attack speed make them hard to evade like this.
- All attacks from behind result in critical hits. This helps a lot when your tank has aggro on a tough zombie – you can have your other survivors help put it down quickly by simply moving the tank to the other side of the enemy so that the others shoot and stab at its back.
-Your characters have a chance to dodge enemy attacks in melee. I’m not 100% sure about this, especially since it’s only based on personal experience and I hadn’t done any in depth research on the subject, but the dodge chance seems related to the character’s melee skill.

 
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Tactics

PvE offense

Noise There are several approaches to PvE loot runs, one of the primary diffrences being the amount of noise you are willing to generate. Normally zombies will only attack you if they can see you. Noise attracts zombies regardless of their line of sight, which can give you some trouble with aggro control, but running a low noise group also increases the chance, that large zombie crowds will aggregate in areas, that you’ve neglected, which in turn can lead to the group being overwhelmed when you aggro such a crowd. High noise groups are not immune to this issue, but in general suffer less from it.

Noiseless groups relying on ranged weapons are hard to put together because of the relative rarity of suppressed weapons and will generally have much lower DPS as the suppression mod reduces the weapon’s damage by 10%. Coupled with their limited selection, this would leave you with subpar equipment. This is less of an issue with melee weapons – the only noisy melee weapons in the game at this point are chainsaws, everything else, including guitars for some odd reason, is completely noiseless. Going with a melee heavy group is also great if you want to save some ammo, but odds are you’ll be taking some hits even with manual dodging, which means you’ll need some healing to prevent death through attrition.

Noisy approach benefits from a large selection of guns – those are well worth using, especially in harder missions, but they have some very nasty drawbacks. First off, a character with a gun equipped will dodge much less, if at all – I hadn’t noticed any dodges on my gunners myself. Second, gunners are very vulnerable to knockback – a single unlucky hit will force them to restart reloading the weapon, which in case of a long realod weapon like M249 can spell the diffrence between life and not-quite-deadly-but-still-painful-injury. This means, that having a single melee character, who doesn’t have to reload and can dodge hits by himself provides a tank for your ranged group even if said tank does little damage on his own. Another benefit to this is that with a single character gathering all the aggro, it’s easier to backstab the zombies – just move the tank to the other side of the zombie group. It is of course also possible to simply include a chainsaw in your group if you want to try a noisy all-melee approach, but aside from the noise factor, it’s little diffrent than silent melee.

Whichever setup you decide to go with, you should still be careful of the zombie crowds gathering in unattended areas, especially on bigger maps, where you’ll never be able to cover the whole area constantly – so far my best solution to this issue has been to simply patrol the area with my combat characters whenever they’re not fighting or getting healed to make sure I’m clearing as many zombies as I can before they become a threat.

Another important detail is scavenging – a character, who does the scavenging is temporarily not contributing to the group’s DPS. Furthermore, a scavenging character needs to be protected – if they’re knocked back, the scavenging action gets interrupted and has to be restarted. Furthermore, many larger maps have so many containers, that you may be unable to loot everything without either using a dedicated scavenger class survivor or using several non-scavenger survivors to loot. Coupled with the fact, that scavengers provide extra loot, this means that IMO scavenger is the only class, that should always be included in every group excluding special circumstances such as scavenging specced leader, XP only runs or PvP. Additionally, scavengers seem to perform better with a melee weapon – this way, they have a chance to dodge hits while scavenging and they can double as tanks if you run into a particularily troublesome bunch of infected or your gunners are stuck reloading – thus, they pretty much fulfill both their own role and that of a tank.

Finally, weapons. I may do a case by case weapon overview later on, but for now, there are several factors to consider:
DPS is the most obvious thing you want from a weapon – it’s the weapon’s attack damage multiplied by it’s rate of fire and accuracy. DPS calculation also includes the clip size and reload speed for ranged weapon. In some cases however, the raw number can be vastly misleading because of the following:
overkill – Most of the zombies you’ll encounter don’t really have much HP – the tougher ones are less common than the basic variety. This means, that if you have a powerful weapon, that does damage equal to 80% of a basic zombie’s HP with every hit, you’ll take that zombie down dealing 160% of its HP in 2 hits. That’s 60% of the weapon’s DPS wasted. This means weapons with a high rate of fire are generally preferrable, as they do not suffer from overkill issues.
accuracy – a low accuracy weapon is simply unreliable. It’s less of a pain if it has a high rate of fire, as in that case a single miss doesn’t hurt you much, but with low rate of fire, a little bad luck can go a long way indeed.
knockback – I’ve explained what knockback does in the “random tips” section. Each weapon has a knockback chance, which is the chance, that a hit with that weapon will have the knockback effect. This is particularily useful on a tank’s melee weapon, as knockback is mostly a defensive ability. The highest knockback ratings are found on blunt weapons, a notable exception being the juggling chainsaws, which sacrifice nearly all of their damage for a 900% knockback boost. Shotguns also come with a very good knockback rating and if you need a ranged weapon with some knockback, tactical shotgun, thor and DRS-12 all combine good knocback with nice rate of fire.
range while not as important in PvE as DPS, is still useful both as it allows you to take down the zombies before they come close, but also because many maps feature convenient locations with either good lines of sight or defensible positions. High range weapons let you occupy those positions longer, thus putting the terrain to a better use.

 
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Very nice guide! I think nobody replied because there isn’t much to say. Please go on!

 
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Maybe some screenshots of defense strategies against zombies attacks?

 
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Thank you for the great tips

 
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Sadly, it looks like I’ll need a little extra space, since my tactics post got so long it broke Kong’s formatting :d. Here’s the PvP section:

PvP offense

Overall, PvP isn’t a very profitable venture right now. That being said, it’s a part of the game and it certainly could use a little explaining. Currently PvP is currently only possible when attacking an offline player, with the defender’s survivors being controlled by an AI, so the whole affair tends to be rather predictable – in fact, perhaps less so than PvE.
Cover is a PvP-only mechanic. Most structures, that you build provide cover – red shield icon indicates poor cover, yellow shield – moderate cover, green shield – good cover. You may have noticed, that your compund is surrounded by a street with several objects such as concrete barricades and car wrecks. As far as I can tell, these all provide moderate cover. According to wiki, a survivor in cover is immune to ranged attacks unless attacking himself, but being shot at while in cover causes suppression – if your survivor takes too much enemy fire, he’ll just stop attacking and hide. I seem to recall hitting survivors behind cover, just at a much reduced rate – I hadn’t done much PvP though, so I’m not sure if wiki is wrong. Either way, cover quality does affect suppression rate. It may or may not affect accuracy reduction.
Range is an another very important concept in PvP and it plays a much diffrent role than in PvE. Shooting outside of your range results in a drastically reduced accuracy. While enemy survivors will return fire from outside their range, they’ll rarely hit and even with modest cover or just a little healing, you should be able to simply pick them off one by one. Of course, to protect against this, most players will equip their survivors with sniper rifles for defense so attempts to assault them with a short range weapon will include running to cover under enemy fire, possibly through traps. Bad idea.
traps – as mentioned above, traps can generally be dealt with in three ways – avoided, disarmed or simply ignored. Focusing on long range combat means, that you’ll generally be able to deal with traps without the risk of enemy interference. Once you’ve spotted a trap, usually by using a recon, you’ll sometimes be able to simply avoid it – disarming it may prove somewhat risky, as failed attempts to disarm a trap set it off. Lastly, if you have a healer and a high HP character available, you can just run about through any and all traps and heal as necessary. They shouldn’t be able to kill you, especially at higher levels as traps lose efficiency, so all they’ll do is make you waste a little of your time – and possibly less than they would on disarming. Just make sure the squishy folks stay at a safe distance.
local superiority – The idea here is simple – you don’t always have to take on the full enemy force, in fact, many players split their defensive assets. Don’t just pick an entrance and rush it head on – try to scout out the weakest defensive position and assault that point. If you’re after XP or simply out for blood, remember, that towers, gates and walls of the main compund building block line of sight. If you’re in for a tough fight, try to position your survivors so that some enemies won’t be able to draw a line of sight to you. You can deal with them when their friends are down.
melee – Defensive structures can be a big pain in the bum for the attacker and a major asset for the defender. They take very little damage from guns too, but you can easily turn them into rubble with just a few swings of a melee weapon. This means, that while melee isn’t very useful for dealing with enemy survivors themselves, taking a single melee toon will help you avoid traps or attack from an unexpected angle.

PvP defense

From the above, it would seem like the attacker will always have the upper hand – there are, after all, many tools at their disposal, most of them countering the most common defensive countermeasures. You have however, the advantage of fighting on your own turf and, mostly, on your own terms. So, what should you keep in mind when cooking up a solid defense?
range As I’ve explained, survivors with short range weapons are easy pickings for snipers. If your defensive position is located near one of the map edges, it would possibly make rushing easy, so you may want to include a few LMGs or shotguns to secure that side, but “few” is the operative word here.
cover and cover denial Good cover is good to have, but if there’s one thing that’s even better, it’s having good cover and an enemy out in the open. Make sure to provide good cover for your survivors, but also try to avoid putting structures with moderate or good cover rating in the combat zone. You’ll probably end up with some storage bins cluttering the battlespace anyway, so light cover is, sadly, unavoidable and of course you’ll have to manage with the moderate cover from the map edges.
massed firepower As I’ve explained in the offense section, splitting your survivors means, that the opponent has several easier fights, with time to recover between them if he brought a medic, instead of one hard one. Ensuring, that all your survivors can participate in defense is particularily important as you can have up to 10 survivors and the enemy can only attack with 6 people – and even that much would make no sense as far as resource and xp acquisition efficiency is concerned.
don’t have anything worth taking While raiding gives good xp, it’s also a decent source of building resources. Spend all the resources you can and even if you get raided successfully, there’s a good chance, that the enemy will be disappointed enough, that they’ll simply look for a more profitable target next time.
there’s no “fence” in “defense” Some folks just fence off their storage bins and call it a day. IMO, barricades of all sorts are very useful in creating an entrenched position and this is a bit of a waste – if you have spares, go ahead, but if not, remember that a few hits with a melee weapon is all it takes to take down any barricade, gate or watchtower you build.
free protection According to the wiki, compound is placed under free protection for 4 hours if 30% or more survivors are injured during a raid and for 16 hours if you’re raided twice within 23 hours. Also, you cannot be attacked if you’re online, so it should be possible to use an autoclicker to prevent logout effectively obtaining permanent PvP protection.
my setup currently involves all three towers in one spot surrounded by barricades, with all my storage bins within range of my snipers. I’ve used small barricades in one spot, where they would be accessible to the enemy as it was necessary to have a working funnel, but they are heavily trapped, as are edges of the storage area since I expect the enemies to try and use the storage for what little cover it gives.
That being said, there is no such thing as perfect defense. Even if you follow all those tricks, someone with tons of fuel to spare can get exceedingly powerful equipment and use that to bruteforce their way to victory. And even if you spend a lot of fuel on equipment or have crazy luck with rares and uniques, you can get raided when your survivors simply aren’t home. The idea here is not to establish an impervious defense – just an unpleasant one.

PvE defense against zombie hordes relies on the idea of “funnelling” – players use barricades to herd zombies over a trail of wire traps while their survivors take potshots at the undead. I’ve had some trouble taking screenshots of the game in fullscreen mode and the windowed version really doesn’t show enough – since this is kinda hard to explain without graphical aids, I’m afraid I’ll have to leave this part out until I get screenies sorted D:

 
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Books

Books are a powerful tool, that lets you bend the rules of the game in your favor. They can be equipped by clicking one of the 4 slots under your leader’s xp bar in the upper left corner of the game window. Unlike other items, book names are not coloured according to their rarity, but rather to their type. You can only have a total of 4 books equipped, no more than one of each type. There are special books, that let you equip multiple books of the same type, but even so, you cannot equip two books of the same title. Books can come in either permanent or temporary versions – permanent versions are just that – permanent. Temporary books will generally have increased effect magnitudes, but disappear after use. Additionally, permanent books sometimes come with a lockout period meaning, that when used they cannot be unequipped until lockout expires. Temporary books can never be unequipped once used – you have to bear with them until they expire. Some books are designated as challenge books – those usually make the game harder, but provide an xp boost in return. This designation is also relevant as you can obtain several achievements for playing with a challenge book. Curiously enough, challenge books never have lockout attached. Curiously enough, xp bonus from challenge books always rounds up – a lvl 1 zombie killed under the effects of a +1% xp boost will always give 2xp.

Combat type (red) books:

“Ammo conservationist”: Reduces ammo consumption. Permanent versions come with a magnitude of about -5% to -10% and no lockout. Special shop only permanent versions were once available, with magnitudes of -30% and -50%, but have since been changed to 14 day timed. Lootable timed versions have similar magnitudes, but durations of only about 1 hour.

“Anatomy 101”: Increases damage done to infected. Permanent versions are only currently dropping with miniscule magnitudes (1% to 3% or so), but for a while 10%, 20% and 30% permanent versions were available both as loot and through the store. Neither permanent version has any lockout. Timed versions come in 7 day 10%, 20% and 30% varieties.

“How to Specialize in Combat”: Allows you to equip 2 other combat books. No timed versions and no lockout, but it can’t be removed if you have more than one other combat book equipped.

“Martial Law in the Apocalypse”©: Increases the spawn rates of special zombies such as fatties, police etc. I think permanent version is roughly 30%-50%, not sure. Potentially useful for tasks, that require you to hunt down rare infected, but also because rares offer more xp without posing as much of a threat as many other challenge books. Because of that, it seems to be the only book, that increases xp obtained during infected attacks on your compound.

“Ninjutsu: For Urban Ninjas”: Reduces noise by about 11%-20%, no lockout. Timed versions only last 30 minutes, but provide a reduction of up to about 90%.

“Trained”: Timed only. Reduces level requirements on weapons and gear by 4 for 12 hours or by 3 for 24 hours. I’ve heard reports, that overlevelled equipment is not removed when the book expires, making it potentially exploitable.

“Non Lethal Gun Mods”©: Reduces your survivors’ ranged damage by about 11%-20%, provides +5% xp in return. Timed versions have higher reductions, but offer +10% xp instead.

“Ready. Aim. Zombies.”©: Disables automatic targetting for your survivors, +20% xp. This means your survivors will only attack when explicitly ordered to, they won’t even respond when attacked. Perm only.

“Reprogram Your Motorskills”©: Weapons and gear have level requirements increased by 2, +10% xp. Perm only.

“That Smarts”©: Infected deal +80%-100%ish damage, +10% xp.

“They Live Again”©: Infected deal +80%-100%ish extra damage AND have +60%-100%ish HP, +25% xp.

“They’re Not Human”©: Infected have +80%-100%ish extra hp, +10% xp.

WALLOPED!”©: Infected can score critical hits. This also includes autocriticals when attacking your survivors from behind.

“Wifflebat for Beginners”©: Survivors deal -11% to -20% melee damage, +5% xp.

“Shoot Softly”: Reduced ammo costs and damage. Damage reduction is greater than the ammo cost reduction, making the book more or less worthless. No lockout.

“Melee Effort”: Increases food and water consumption as well as survivors’ melee damage. Timed only.

General type (blue) books:

“How to Specialize in General”: Allows you to equip 2 other general books. No timed versions and no lockout, but it can’t be removed if you have more than one other general book equipped.

“Organizing Your Home”: Increases your inventory capacity. I think I’ve heard of lootable permanent versions of up to 10%ish magnitude. Fuel store offers up to 40% permanent versions, neither version has any lockout.

“Raiding Spirits”: Improves survivor morale by up to 5% or so. Lockout 12 hours.

“Baiting your Home”©: Increases the chance of infected attack against the player’s compound by up to 40%. Timed versions all last one day and have magnitude of up to about 90%.

“Shortnening your Lifespan”©: Reduces survivor HP by around 11-20%, provides +5% mission xp

“Survivor Psychology”©: Increases the influence of morale on survivor skills – this includes skill boosts from positive morale, making the main effect of the book often beneficial, especially later on. Survivor Psychology has been changed, so two versions exist – old with higher xp boost and low morale effect increase (up to about 30% morale effect increase, +5% xp) and new with up to +50%ish morale effect boosts and +2% xp. Temporary option of the new book goes up to about 75-80% morale and 5% xp, I sadly have no access to the old version temps.

“Camouflage in the Apocalypse”: Shop only, timed only. This book disables infected attacks for 3 to 7 days, depending on the version. Infected attacks are mostly just free xp, so this is perhaps the least interesting shop only title.

“Vacation from the Dead Zone”: Shop only, timed only. Disables PvP, reduces food and water consumption by 100% and places the compound in vacation mode for 14 days. I’ve no idea what the vacation mode means, I’m guessing it just makes the compound temporarily inaccessible.

“White Flag”: Shop only, permanent only. Disables PvP raiding, this book has no lockout, but carries 3 days’ cooldown. Unlike lockdown books, this can be unequipped whenever you want it gone, but doing so disables your ability to equip it again for 3 days. I don’t know if multiple white flag books allow you to bypass this.

Mission type (green) books:

“Boost your Experience”: Timed only, lootables boost your xp for about 15%-40% for 1 hour (30 min versions might be available too, not sure). Shop offers 30 min, 1 hour and 4 hour versions with either +100% or +300% xp.

“Furious Search”: 11-20%ish increased item find and 50-150% increased food and water consumption, 2 day timed only.

“How to Specialize in Missions”: Allows you to equip 2 other mission books. No timed versions and no lockout, but it can’t be removed if you have more than one other mission book equipped.

“Leading rom a Distance”: Increases automated mission success rate by up to about 10%. Notably, timed versions are much more powerful, with up to 50%ish magnitudes. No lockout.

“Nighthunting”: Improves your nightvision, making the screen brighter at night. So far, only the visual effect has been confirmed.

“One Man’s Trash”: Reduces the drop rate of junk items. This generally helps you find better stuff more often, but junk is the main source of nails, which are in short supply in midgame even without the reduction. Best use it when you’re sure you won’t have to worry about the nails anymore. No lockout.

“Ooooh Shiny!”: Increases quality item drop rates by up to 4%, possibly 5, but I’ve never seen it this high. In return, the survivors’ vision range is reduced by about 40-50%. No lockout, temp versions often, but not always, come with considerably improved droprate boost. No lockout.

“Quick Search”: Timed only, 12h duration. Reduces action times by around 15-20% and increases noise effects by about 60-75%.

“Top Tips For Sightseeing”: Increases survivor vision range by about 10-15%, no lockout.

“Union City Shortcuts”: Reduces return times on played (not automated) missions by about 6-10%. 06-07 HERC box offers a 15% version. 50% version is available in the shop. Timed versions drop with a duration of 4 hours and magnitude of up to 50%. No lockout.

“Vague Search”: Timed only, 12 hour duration. Reduces all action times by about 15-20%, but also vastly decreases the chance to find quality items. Avoid like the plague.

“Warzone Logistics”: Increases the chance of getting supply boxes by up to 190%, no lockout. Generally, players don’t consider spending fuel to open HERC boxes worthwhile, but this should also work on event boxes, making this book situationally very useful. No lockout.

“Blind Mice”©: Hides HUD (Heads Up Display – most of the info game gives you like hp, mission timer, reload timers etc.) for +2% xp, permanent only, no lockout.

“Bull in a China Shop”©: Increases noise effects by about 30-50%, +5% xp.

“Quantity not Quality”©: Reduces the chance to find quality items by about 10-15%, +5% xp.

“Searching Eyes Closed”©: Reduces the chance to find items by about 10-15%, +5% xp.

“Slow Motion”©: Increases all action times by about 20-30%, +5%xp.

“Stepladder to Success”©: Reduces mission times by about 25-30%, +5% xp. Notice you can make more extra xp by just staying to clear out some zombies after the mission.

“The Long Way Home”©: Increases the return times on played missions by 100-150%, +100% xp. Timed versions last 30 minutes with 200-300% return time increase and +200% xp. Not only is it a good book to use before logging out, the return times on played missions cap at 4 hours, even with a +300% return time book equipped. This makes it basically free xp if you’re not using Union City Shortcuts.

“Three’s a Crowd”©: Perm only, you can’t take more than 2 survivors on a mission. +10% xp.

 
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Resource type (purple) books:

“Conserving Cloth”: Increases cloth dropoff production speed by up to 10%. Dropoffs being lackluster in general, this is pretty useless – a perfect 10% will get you less than 100 cloth over 24 hours, assuming you keep your dropoffs supervised at all times. No lockout.

“Crafting on the Cheap”: Reduces the fuel cost for crafting and upgrading items, with perm version having a lockout of 1 hour. I’ve seen 10% perm and 20% timed 30 minute books, but 15% perm is available from one of the boxes currently and might also be obtainable from looting for all I know. Timed CotC books, including the 50% shop one, are much more valuable than most other timed books thanks to the fact you can just save up fuel for your crafts and use it whenever you’re ready, possibly saving 1K fuel or more throughout the 30 minute duration with the store book. Overall, this is only worth equipping for crafting sprees, whether you’re using timed or perm version, but if you do plan to craft, you stand to gain quite a lot from this book.

“Driftwood”: Increases the wood dropoff production rate – this suffers from the same faults as the Conserving Cloth book already mentioned as they are functionally identical except for the resource gathered.

“Gunsmith Monthly”: Increases the chance to obtain extra stat boosts from crafting. Much like Crafting on the Cheap, it’s only really good for crafting sprees and thus, timed versions are often worth having thanks to their increased magnitudes. Also, much like CotC, it carries a 1 hour lockout.

“How to Specialize in Resources”: Allows you to equip 2 other resource books. No timed versions and no lockout, but it can’t be removed if you have more than one other resource book equipped.

“Looter”: Timed only. Reduces your chance to loot fuel by 20%, increases the chance to loot quality items by up to 20%, possibly even more. 1 day variety was once available, but I’ve heard it has since been removed from the loot tables (unconfirmed). If that’s the case, only 20 minute Looter books will drop now.

“Peak Oil – a Survivors Guide”: Increases your chance to loot fuel by up to 20%. A 25% perm version is available as of the time of writing from the 05-07 HERC boxes. This also seems to increase the temporary fuel cap. While due to fuel’s scarcity this book is immensely useful, this is somewhat tempered by its 2 day lockout. Temporary versions seem to only drop as exactly 50% magnitude, 22 hour duration variety.

“Production Overdrive”: Timed only, +100% resource production. Much like the Conserving Cloth, Driftwood and Scrappers, this won’t carry your resource needs by itself, but the high magnitude makes it somewhat interesting especially since the book might also affect ammo, water and food production for all I know (untested) and ammo dropoffs in particular are actually quite efficient.

“Quality Crafts”: Increases the amount of fuel consumed by crafting by up to 20% and the chance to gain additional stat bonuses by up to 10% – this is basically a stronger, but more fuel intensive version of Gunsmith Monthly, with the additional bonus of no lockout.

“Scrappers”: Increases the metal dropoff production rate – this suffers from the same faults as the Conserving Cloth and Driftwood books already mentioned as they are functionally identical except for the resource gathered. Scrappers is perhaps the least interestng of the bunch due to metal’s availability.

“Whistler’s Grove Handyman”: Reduces the repair costs by up to 15% – only really useful if you’ve just gotten raided. It has a 1 hour lockout, but you should usually be still able to equip it if you’ve been raided and then remove it before it becomes a hassle. Timed versions last 30 minutes and have a magnitude of up to about 40%.

“80’s Action Movies”©: Increases ammo costs by about 30-40%, +5% mission xp.

Survival type (beige) books:

“A History of Rationing”: Reduces water and food consumption by 5-10%. Store versions with permanent reduction of up to 50% are available.

“Agriculture”: Improves food and water production by 5%. 10% versions might also be available, but I have not personally come acroos them.

“Ammunition Annual”: Increases food drops from looting by up to 10%.

“Call of the Clothier”: Increases cloth drops from looting by up to 10%.

“Everyday Gardener”: Increases food production by 5-10%.

“Finding Reclaimed Timber”: Increases wood drops from looting by up to 10%.

“How to Specialize in Survival”: Allows you to equip 2 other survival books. No timed versions and no lockout, but it can’t be removed if you have more than one other survival book equipped.

“Modern Metal Finder”: Increases wood drops from looting by up to 10%. Because we all need more metal.

“Rain Makers”: Increases water production by 5-10%

“Modern City Living”©: Reduces the chance to find all resources (metal, wood, cloth, food, water and ammo) by up to 25%. This is potentially useful for filtering loot for endgame rare hunting – not exceedingly so though. +1% mission xp.

“Plastics – The Future”©: Reduces the chance to find wood, cloth and metal by up to 25%. +1% mission xp. A diffrent version of Modern City Living, basically. Worse, if you’re after filtering, but better for xp.

“Processed Foods”© This book has been severely changed in one of the updates. The old version is much like Modern City Living or Plastics, but for food and water only, while the new version reduces the chance to find metal, wood and cloth, but increases the odds of getting food and water, all by 5% (to the best of my knowledge). Since Martial Law in the Apocalypse and Baiting Your Home both provide indirect xp boosts, this makes the new Processed Foods the only challenge book with no xp boost whatsoever.

Books marked with © are challenge books.

 
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Location overview
Union City is separated into a variety of zones, with each zone containing multiple locations, where you can send your survivors on missions. Each location type comes with its own level adjustment, possibly making it above or below the general zone level, as well as a selection of lootable objects such as containers, corpses, stacks of junk and so on, and possibly other quirks.

Convenience Store (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 1 zones):

Police Station (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 1-24 zones):

Construction Site (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 20-24 zones):

Security (Level Adjustment: +2, encountered in level 1-24 zones):

Store (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 5-22 zones):

Departament Store (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 1-24 zones):

Gun Store (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 1-11 and 20-24 zones):

Hospital (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 3-24 zones):

Highway (Level Adjustment: +3, encountered in level 22-24 zones):

Large Park (Level Adjustment: +3, encountered in level 22-24 zones):

Supermarket:
*Regular (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 1-24 zones):
*Large (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 3-24 zones):

Hardware Store:
*Regular (Level Adjustment: -1, encountered in level 1-16 zones):
*Large (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 14-24 zones):

Street:
*Small (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 1-24 zones):
*Regular (Level Adjustment: +2, encountered in level 1-24 zones):

Subway Station:
*Regular (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 20-24 zones):
*Large (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 22-24 zones):

Warehouse:
*Small (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 1-24 zones):
*Regular (Level Adjustment: +2, encountered in level 7-24 zones):

Residence:
*Regular (Level Adjustment: -2, encountered in level 1-24 zones):
*Large (Level Adjustment: +1, encountered in level 1-24 zones):

Office:
*Small (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 1-18 zones):
*Regular (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 3-22 zones):
*Large (Level Adjustment: +0, encountered in level 5-24 zones):

Descriptions TBA

 
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Other guides:
- random tips from random strangers:
http://www.kongregate.com/forums/249-the-last-stand-dead-zone/topics/325302-survival-tips-post-your-own-to
- a few common issues with the UI explained:
http://www.kongregate.com/forums/249-the-last-stand-dead-zone/topics/320793-dead-zone-guide

 
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just curious, so what kind of leader you play? I’m kinda in between combat/scav (and raised both) because those two things come across to me as stuff the leader has the potential to get better than the other survivors.

 
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Even though this is currently incomplete, so far I feel this is pretty good. I just want to add a few things. First, despite the game not giving any direct evidence that this is the case, according to the wiki leaders are effectively specialized with all weapons. Due to this, I’ve chosen to make my leader fast-moving while using high-DPS weapons to quickly bring heavy firepower where it’s needed. Second, looking at the various improvised weapons, I feel that few of them have good enough stats to justify using over weapons of similar level that you’ll find normally. The only improvised gun that I feel is worthwhile would be Marion’s Trident, and engineers being pretty lackluster beyond their improvised specialization means they probably should be reworked entirely (or that improvised weapons should be given an all-around buff).

 
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Great tips, will help a lot. Can’t wait to see more!

according to the wiki leaders are effectively specialized with all weapons

Last I checked, it said leaders had no specs, but were useful in fighting due to the fact that they are guaranteed to be highest level and will be able to use the cool new shiny gear first.

 
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Originally posted by Zazanxors:

Great tips, will help a lot. Can’t wait to see more!

according to the wiki leaders are effectively specialized with all weapons

Last I checked, it said leaders had no specs, but were useful in fighting due to the fact that they are guaranteed to be highest level and will be able to use the cool new shiny gear first.

Check the last sentence of the header paragraph for the page on leaders. It says “They can gain skills with XP and are specialized with all types of weapons.”

 
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Originally posted by soulslicerjames:

The only improvised gun that I feel is worthwhile would be Marion’s Trident, and engineers being pretty lackluster beyond their improvised specialization means they probably should be reworked entirely (or that improvised weapons should be given an all-around buff).

Engineers are nearly strong as fighters with melee weapons, they just don’t get the 10% bonus but base stat is just barely smaller….an engineer is a little better with a regular melee weapons than with an improvised ranged weapon. For now engineers are just faster but less efficient fighters.

 
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or you know…the presence of engineers can speed up production/construction etc. thats a sensible addition w/o completely overhauling engineers (which isn’t easy).

 
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Originally posted by Locky_lock:

just curious, so what kind of leader you play? I’m kinda in between combat/scav (and raised both) because those two things come across to me as stuff the leader has the potential to get better than the other survivors.

Full scav spec – I’ve noticed scavengers pull extra loot, so I’ve decided to make my leader a scav to take full advantage of the high end missions. I think in light of the fact leaders apparently do get weapon specs after all, a fighting variant looks very sexy too though.

Originally posted by Zazanxors:

Great tips, will help a lot. Can’t wait to see more!

according to the wiki leaders are effectively specialized with all weapons

Last I checked, it said leaders had no specs, but were useful in fighting due to the fact that they are guaranteed to be highest level and will be able to use the cool new shiny gear first.

The leader’s stat window doesn’t display any specialisations and weapons they equip don’t show spec icons, but, oddly enough, their damage and accuracy values appear to be boosted. I thought I’ve been testing this before and the leader specs weren’t working, but I must’ve been either incorrect or this was changed since – I will update the leader’s description accordingly soon – as a matter of fact, I kinda regret, that a leader can’t be reskilled now…

Originally posted by votadc:

Engineers are nearly strong as fighters with melee weapons, they just don’t get the 10% bonus but base stat is just barely smaller….an engineer is a little better with a regular melee weapons than with an improvised ranged weapon. For now engineers are just faster but less efficient fighters.

True – in fact engineers get the +10% bonus on many good melee weapons thanks to the improv spec, but the thing they actually miss out most compared to fighters IMO is the ranged options – LMGs are obscenely powerful in the lvl 14-20ish range and stay among the top DPS weapons at lvl 23, which is the current endgame.

Originally posted by Locky_lock:

or you know…the presence of engineers can speed up production/construction etc. thats a sensible addition w/o completely overhauling engineers (which isn’t easy).

There are certainly several unique abilities, that could rebalance engineers – they could also reduce fuel costs for crafting, improve the crafted bonuses on crafted items (since they’re apparently good at making stuff), they could improve the efficiency of the other group members’ equipment by providing expert maintenance on the spot, they could simply have their 10% spec bonus replaced with, say, a 33% one or their trap removal could become a unique ability, like the medic’s healing – either of those would go a long way towards making them playable, but currently it’s a lackluster class and sadly, it doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon :-(.

Thanks a lot for reading and commenting, I very much appreciate the input!

 
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Originally posted by Ugicywapih:

I’ll take the liberty of reserving this post and 3 more for the weapon overview and whatever else comes to my mind. Also, thanks a lot to everyone who commented, I thought nobody read this stuff, so I actually kinda gave up on the tactics section until I heard from you :D

Aheh, I thought you gave up since nobody commented, so I did.

And yeah, do a gear and crafting overview too. I’m guessing you’re pretty high level, so it could give some of us lower-leveled folk something to look forward to.

 
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I need some advice. I’m level 12, and I have 6 survivors, the 6th one being an engineer. I just read this, and now I regret getting an engineer. I knew engineers are underpowered, but I did not realize that other classes can also disarm traps. I’ve already spent some fuel on weapons for my engineer. Should I construct the training center and retrain my engineer to something else, or continue going with the engineer class?

 
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Originally posted by HoboMcJoe:

I need some advice. I’m level 12, and I have 6 survivors, the 6th one being an engineer. I just read this, and now I regret getting an engineer. I knew engineers are underpowered, but I did not realize that other classes can also disarm traps. I’ve already spent some fuel on weapons for my engineer. Should I construct the training center and retrain my engineer to something else, or continue going with the engineer class?

I’d suggest retraining him to another class, and make the type a type that specs in the weapons you crafted.

 
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Strange….7 survivors and still level 9 (nearly 10).

If you train you lose two levels if the description is right. If you are using with ranged improvised weapon you should switch because their basic value is not too good, if you are using with melee improvised weapon you can keep it because the value is the same and it is just something like -20% health but +30% movement speed that come handy to catch zombies when they come from different directions and you have to protect someone (medic or scavenger when he scavenge) but you don’t have many people.

 
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Originally posted by Zazanxors:
Originally posted by HoboMcJoe:

I need some advice. I’m level 12, and I have 6 survivors, the 6th one being an engineer. I just read this, and now I regret getting an engineer. I knew engineers are underpowered, but I did not realize that other classes can also disarm traps. I’ve already spent some fuel on weapons for my engineer. Should I construct the training center and retrain my engineer to something else, or continue going with the engineer class?

I’d suggest retraining him to another class, and make the type a type that specs in the weapons you crafted.

I crafted him improvised weapons. Do any other classes specialize in that? I don’t think so.

Originally posted by votadc:

Strange….7 survivors and still level 9 (nearly 10).

If you train you lose two levels if the description is right. If you are using with ranged improvised weapon you should switch because their basic value is not too good, if you are using with melee improvised weapon you can keep it because the value is the same and it is just something like -20% health but +30% movement speed that come handy to catch zombies when they come from different directions and you have to protect someone (medic or scavenger when he scavenge) but you don’t have many people.

Well, I crafted him two weapons. One is melee and one is ranged. Since defense doesn’t take ammo, I made him a “High Capacity Submachine Gun – Improvised”. For offense, I crafted him a “Spiked Bat”.

Yeah, I might be a little bit behind on survivors (or more than a little, lol). I haven’t concentrated much on survivors, often failing to get them fast because my food and water storage is too low. Even though I often can afford to upgrade them, I spend my resources on other things. So I don’t really consider myself at a disadvantage. I did just upgrade my storage though, so I should be getting my seventh survivor soon. Which reminds me, what should I make him/her?

 
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Actually, some of the improvised weapons have one of the 2 subtypes of melee, blunt or blade. The classes that spec with those, will spec with the improvised weapon you crafted. Some improv will not be typed, in which case only the fighter can use those with the specialize bonus.

Something else you should note about engineers is that they don’t have a high ranged combat skill. So a smg is pretty much a terrible choice, even if you don’t consume bullets. When picking a weapon for a survivor, on both offence and defence, you have to look at the dps, which counts the specialization bonus. Sometimes, a normal weapon will have more damage than a weapon the survivor specializes in, simply because it does that much more damage.

 
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I believe an improvised weapon checks either the ranged/melee combat or improvised weapons skill, whichever one’s higher. This means an improv SMG is actually a usable weapon on an on level engineer – it’ll just get outlevelled pretty quickly. Retrainng the engineer would most likely get you a more powerful class, but, as it had been mentioned, you’d lose some xp – whether it’s worth it or not largely depends on how much longer you plan to play the game, as the amount of xp lost at respec at this point will gradually become less significant (it’s 2 levels’ worth right now, but in a week’s time of active gameplay it might only make a half a level’s diffrence or so). As for the question about your next survivor, it depends on your current lineup.