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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

State of Decay Q&A: Tactics/Buckle Up Followup, 12/18/2012

State of Decay has released an awesome Q&A follow up of their last post that was discussing tactics. This Q&A gives us a ton of useful information that many fellow gamers have been curious about. This game is going to be a wonderful zombie survival game, if not the best zombie survival game. I've posted a Link to the Q&A official post below or you can read my copy and paste version which is really long but sooo worth it so I posted it anyways.


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Q: Chrace123: When you send one of your survivors out on a mission, how are you alerted when they get into trouble?

A: Your home base has a communication center, one that is always manned by an NPC. She will get the panicked calls for help and relay the information to “you” (meaning whatever survivor you are playing at the time).

Q: Joey: If I'm about to die or don't have what it takes to get home, may I radio for help? And is there a possibility help may die on the way?

A: If the character you are driving has earned sufficient influence with your community, you will have some resources you can draw on, for inspiration, stamina, medical advice, and more. There are some resources you will have access to in return for earning the trust/support of other NPCs. But you can’t just summon any available survivor to come to your aid when you’re out and running into trouble. Go armed, and take no shame in fleeing.

Q: K-Man: Will all the playable characters be in the world [at the beginning of the game] or will some spawn/appear only if previous characters have died?

A: There are storyline characters already in the world when you log in for the first time. Others, and I’m told the vast majority, appear as you play.

If you manage to kill everyone that happens to be in the world in one miniature apocalypse of your own making (except for whoever you happen to be playing at the time), you may meet an NPC “who knows where to find a survivor” that has hitherto escaped you. But don’t expect to find anywhere near the number of survivors as you might have otherwise found.

Q: Joey: Are there any other characters who can get me items from outside? Ie. guns, survivors, jumbo jets.

A: No jumbo jets. But yeah, there are NPCs who still have connections, as implied by the last answer.

Q: No Good Names Left: Will there be [survivors in different] age groups, like elderly, teens, kids?

A: There are no young children, and the adults are mostly in their prime, though there is some variance.

Q: [Multiple]: Can all the survivors carry the same amount of weight? Are the survivors themselves of different physical type?

A: Survivors can carry different amounts of weight based on their character traits. There is variance in height, weight, and skin tone.

Q: K-Man: Is there a limit to the number of characters that can be in a community (given that I'll be able to feed them all and give them a place to rest)?

A: That’s a pretty big given! You could theoretically rescue every survivor in the game, given the ability to house them and feed them. But that definitely won’t be easy.

Q: (Multiple people) How do we change between characters? Can we switch during combat? Can we switch while we’re actively on a mission? Do we have to be in a safe area?

A: You can switch by talking to them, or you can switch via the Journal menu. You can switch to one of your family members (a survivor in your group that trusts you completely) anytime they are not busy (e.g. on a mission, or actively hiding because they are panicked).

Q: Thornboosh: Will there be other groups of survivors out there, or any non-zombie related enemies, that might be out to get you?

A: You will encounter other small groups of survivors who have banded together. You can either try to convince them to join your community, or do a little trading with them.

For SoD, we’ve made the decision to not have any human survivors actively seeking to do you harm. They might not like you or want to help you, but you don’t need to fear getting shanked in the dark by anyone that isn’t undead.

That is, you don’t need to fear it in the initial launch of State of Decay. I make no promises beyond that point.

Q: WhiteAvatar: [Do the NPCs spawn in a consistent location?] I can imagine the main NPCs with main back stories appearing at similar land marks, but what about the minor randomized npcs? are their locations randomized as well?

A: You’ve got it exactly right. The main storyline characters appear in the same places every time you play through the game, but the semi-random characters appear... semi-randomly.

Note that survivors will group up when they can, especially if they aren’t part of your community. They will also react to their immediate environment. From Phinney, our creative director: “For example, a survivor group that (randomly) settles into a grocery store will have food for trade (in exchange for cases of ammo.. .the universal currency), while one that settles into an industrial supply store might have construction materials to offer as well.”

Q: WhiteAvatar: How many survivors can you bring on a mission?

A: Most missions you run as an individual character. (Survivors have learned that running in groups attracts unwanted attention, and stealth is a priority for them when you’re not doing the driving.) There are some specific circumstances where you can call out a specific survivor to join you, but they’re special (and you’ll recognize them when you get into them).

Q: Swood: Is there some way to instruct the characters around you to do tasks; say, if you were in a scavenging group and also wanted to set up an ambush?

A: SoD does not feature an NPC ordering system, not like that. You can have other survivors come out and scavenge resources in an area you’ve discovered, and they will perform their appointed tasks at your home base. The will also take their cues from you in the field. If you shoot, they’ll feel free to shoot. If you are being stealthy, they’ll be stealthy.

Q: Major Warpath: Will NPCs know how to conserve ammo also or will they just completely Rambo it and waste resources quickly? Will they also be able to use bombs, landmines, grenades, and molotovs? Or are those just items that you use [when you’re playing as a character]?

A: NPCs (in this answer, I use the term to mean a survivor that is not currently being played by you) use guns and weapons, but do not use other items. NPCs are also pretty careful about using guns, mostly because it makes a ton of noise. They’ll look to you to open up the shooting.

Q: Thornboosh: Say your base begins to get attacked and overwhelmed. Is there an evacuate/abandon order you can give for everyone to get the hell out of there and run for their lives? Maybe set up a rendezvous point for your survivors to get to, or a second base to meet at?

A: Just a nit: You won’t be able to have a second official home base. You can have a base (with facilities you can add and upgrade) and you can have as many outposts as your base can support (no facilities besides supply storage). You can change bases if you find one you like better, but you can’t have two.

But the answer to the question you actually asked is no.


Q: No Good Names Left: Will bones break and if they do, does your character limp?

A: Says Phinney: “Characters who suffer long-term injuries cannot be taken out for missions, but you may see them staggering around your home, looking for somewhere to lie down. (Dude, build an infirmary already!)”

Q: Joey: If I'm low on stamina, is there a way of regeneration? Finding a bed and barricading the room? Energy bars?

A: Yes, and you got the answer on the first try..

Q: Joey: Is there a way to heal myself in combat?

A: There are consumables. They work better if the character in question has some sort of medical skill.


Q: [Multiple]: Can jammed/degraded weapons be repaired? How?

A: Yes, assuming you’ve at least built a workbench at your base. A machine shop upgrade would be even better.

Q: Madmock: Will we be able to repair/maintain melee weapon durability at our base, or can we do it on the fly?

A: You’ll need to do repairs at your home base.

But since this is a Q&A about tactics, let me remind you that repairs can be done in a very tactical way. Repairing something takes a proper facility, a survivor with the proper skill to do the job, and time. Time passes in the world when you’re offline.

So play hard when you’re online, bring your busted up weapons back to base, tell your repairman to get to work, and log off. He’ll slave away while you sleep, and when you log back in, you’ll be ready to rock.

Q: Vulpesveritas, Joey: Will we be able to use a gun as a club if we run out of ammo?

A: No. Also, Phinney notes for the record that guns are far, far too valuable to abuse in that way.

Q: Garret: Will there be different types of ammunition?

A: Yes. We’ve tried to be reasonably accurate with guns and ammo types. Some types will be harder to find than others. Brant says, “To be clear, at this time we differentiate by caliber, we don’t have variances within a caliber, like HP, +P, FMJ, JHP or things like that.”

Remember that ammunition is a resource to be managed. You can’t just roll into Walmart and buy cases of the stuff.

Q: Major Warpath: Will guns jam less if you are more experienced?

A: Yes.

Q: Aaron Shift, Major Warpath: Will we be able to clean guns, in order to use them longer?

A: In SoD, cleaning is included in maintenance and repair activities.

Q: Aaron Shift: [It was] stated that we could take multiple zombies out with one shot of an assault rifle. Can we expect zombies to be a 1 to 2 shot kill to the head/ 1 shot kill to the head or chest with a shotgun at close range?

A: Depends on the type of ammunition, and how close the range is.

Q: [Multiple]: Can found objects be used as melee weapons (such as pipes, rocks, etc)?

A: There are hundreds of melee weapons to be found and used in the game world. Some of them are items like pipes, yes, but they’ve been coded as weapons so the game will recognize them. You can’t just pick up any old pipe and have it work, if you see what I mean. It’s a limit of the technology at this time.

Q: Sutt9: Can you put a [suppressor] on every weapon except the shotgun?

A: Over to Brant: “No, revolvers and shotguns are excluded completely, there are a couple rifles that are excluded and probably a pistol as well. These are the high caliber weapons that require specialized machine shops to manufacture. Also, suppressors for the big .50s are about diffusing point sources for sound and dust signatures, not for significantly limiting the dBs.”

Q: Panther: If we're crouching in water, will our guns jam more easily?

A: No, water mainly affects movement. Once you reach a certain depth, you will not be able to fire. It does not affect maintenance/degradation at this time.


Q: Vulpesveritas: Will there be anything like an airhorn grenade or something that makes a lot of sound to attract zombies to it? Portable radio maybe?

A: Yes. You’re going to enjoy trying different objects out.

Q: Vulpesveritas: Will swiss army knives be available?

A: No.

Q: Bullet Saint: As guns have ammunition and melee weapons have durability, will some food stuffs spoil / have an expiration date of sorts?

A: Phinney again: “First and foremost, all of your resource stockpiles are subject to being used up over time. Construction materials are used to reinforce defenses, fuel is used to run generators (if you go that route), and food, medicine, and ammo all serve as a part of your community's daily needs.

“But food is also a special case. Food spoilage isn't a huge concern initially, but the longer your community survives, the more important it is to start preserving food (via curing, salting, pickling, or refrigeration).

“Don't stress too much about your personal inventory of energy-boosting snacks, though. Those twinkies in your backpack are good for another millennium at least.”


Q: Vulpesveritas: Will there be "one bite and you're dead" or anything of the like, such as a hardcore mode?

A: Not a one-bite mode. In SoD you’d last about ten minutes with that. Just “you’re dead and you’re dead” mode.

Q: Silent Bob: When in stealth mode will there be a silent takedown button?

A: Yes, there are special stealth kills if you manage to sneak up behind a zombie (or two, if you’ve got the right skills) while you are stealthed.

Q: Bullet Saint: Will there be any zombies that are actually in possession of items and/or packs?

A: No, as you would expect in a real zombie apocalypse, none of the zombies are carrying around sweet loots.

Q: White Avatar: It has been said that areas surrounding bases are relatively safer, but do areas generally have specific ratings? Maybe ranked by colour coding from green zones to yellow to red? This has generally got to do with the tactic of sending survivors out on missions: How do we know how safe they are going to be travelling through certain areas. Or is safety indirectly proportional to distance traversed from the main base?

A: There is no color coding, but you can still learn a lot from looking. There is a visible safe zone on the map around bases and outposts, and the radius of that zone depends on many factors. You can see how many safe zones you've established, and gauge whether the path for NPCs on missions is likely to be safe or hostile.

Hordes will be visible on your map if they are within a reasonable visual range, and the surveying skill will also help you spot trouble without first running into it. If you’ve got strong base defenses, you will be able to repel the zombies that are attracted to the light and noise of your activities.

Other than that, you should just assume that the world is unsafe.

Q: White Avatar: If my strategy for one of my playthroughs would be to establish a self sustaining community within my home base (a la grow your own food / distill and purify your own water from a natural water source / scavenge for materials to make your own ammunition) would this be possible in class 3?

A: If you do not trigger any of the main storyline missions, which sometimes will result in world changing events that ratchet up the pressure, you could theoretically play for quite a long time. State of Decay is a sandbox, after all, and there’s no reason a properly built community shouldn’t be stable and self-sustaining. I look forward to seeing how long you last.

Q: Aaron: Since this game is third person, will we be able to toggle between shoulder views? Example: Aiming down left shoulder, then switch to aiming down the right. (JayTWC: I noticed in the distraction video it shifted left to right while the guy was sneaking about, don't know if that has an affect on weapon targeting.)

A: You can flip the shoulder view while using most firearms.

Q: Grand Confidant: It's mentioned that you can miss getting the headpop/lethal kill depending on what kind of melee weapon you're using; does this mean that I have to physically aim my reticule at the zombies head and then swing and a miss would be due to my reticule being too high or low or not on the head, etc.? Or is it more of a 'face the zombie and press the melee button' where then depending on my skill in whatever skills are involved in melee combat would affect the chance/probability of my character getting a headpop?

A: The latter (for melee weapons - as discussed, guns are different). Phinney went into some tantalizing detail for us:
“You don't have to aim melee attacks the way you would aim a gun, but melee is still very much about player skill. There are a variety of techniques your characters can master and tactics you can develop to finish off a zombie quicker. For example, getting behind a zed and shoving it headfirst into a wall would take it out instantly. Facing a zed, dodging its attack, and then counterattacking (if your character knows how to do that and has the right kind of weapon) can knock it down, leaving it vulnerable to a quick finishing move.”

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