Guides:Career Zombie

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Zombie Tactics
The information on this page or section discusses a zombie strategy.


Hi all, this guide presents an alternative view for the progression of the unliving. The reason why I wrote this is because I don't necessarily agree with the views of the other guide writers, but understand that there is ample room for multiple views to exist.

In this guide, I'll try to present a guide that shows more of the options an Undead player can take, rather than to proscribe a particular Zombie build. I'll also try to include my justifications and reasonings behind my recommendations/ opinion.

The most important thing here is that it's your zombie, take it in the direction you want it to! Zombies are quite fun to play since you don't need to worry about living.

Zombies and Their Career Paths

Zombies are more limited in choices than living Survivors, but they are by no means totally limited, with only one build possible. They also have some advantages that people tend to overlook. I'll list some of them here:

  1. Zombies need not worry about dying. They just keep standing up -- again and again.
  2. Zombies need not worry about cross-class skills. All their skills are class skills (with a penalty for that benefit). It becomes much more consistent as to character progression.
  3. Zombies need not worry too much about group dynamics and interactions. There are really only two groups for Zombies: Other Zombies, or Food. ^_^
  4. A Zombie's weapon is always loaded and ready. No scaving for medical kits, or ammo, or weapons -- KILL!

So, quite a straightforward character. No need to think too much, as it is. And, as Urban Dead is a game that's fairly even in terms of level progression requirements (100XP per level), eventually all Zombies would have similar or even identical skills. So one may ask where's the Zombie's options in career?

As with many things, there are many different ways of being a Zombie. You can be a:

  • Claw Zombie, taking things apart with your hands
  • a more sadistic Bite Zombie, biting people and infecting them, and then letting them run off (and die eventually)
  • a Zombie Spy, alternating between a living Fleshie (with the necessary skills like Free Running) and the unliving.
  • and then there is the Super Zombie subtype which cannot be revived.

People may say that's just minor variations of the same theme, but really, in any MMORPG it's up to you, the player, to define who you are. :)

Let's take a look at the progression of a Zombie, and what are some opinions and recommendations.

Zombie Character Progression

So you chose to be a Zombie (or didn't choose, in some cases). You wake up and realized that you are looking at the world from a fresh.. uhm, okay, maybe a bit more rancid perspective. So what do you need to do?

Zombie Tactics

Well, you need to kill fleshies. Survivors. But there are many ways to kill them, though at low levels your options are limited, due to these two primary constraints:

  • Moving each block takes 2 AP
  • Getting up costs 10 AP

At low levels, a Zombie expect to die very frequently, so you would end up on the ground very frequently. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to assume you only have 40 AP (50 AP per day, minus 10 AP to get up once) to deal damage from.

So with only 40 AP to work from, the 2 AP per block restriction hurts Zombies too. At Level 1, don't expect to be able to move a lot.

The above two contraints pretty much means low level Zombies tend to stay at a spot often, to maximize XP gain (since you gain XP only from damage inflicted). The trick is thus to pick the right spot to hunt.

Once you level up to around Level 5 or 6 though, the constraints pretty much go away and the major item becomes the daily 50 AP cap. At this point, you are functioning on par with most survivors, so the field is more level.

Zombie Hordes

If you can get together with a few Zombies, it gets better. Yes, you gain less XP, but a horde of Zombies is protection in numbers (based on the game mechanics, you might not be the first Zombie in the stack), and is a lot more threatening. So threatening that it may draw out Zombie Hunters.. but that's what you have Hordes for, he kills one and pretty much would run out of AP, then he has to retreat. If he makes a mistake and strands himself outside.. well, strike a blow for Zombie-kind. :)

But, at low levels, you need not to have a Horde to operate. It's totally feasible to hunt alone, but you do risk getting hunted by low-level characters too. So Hording at low levels is pretty much irrelevant. It's nice to have company though.

Once you get sufficiently high level though, it makes more sense to attack as a horde. Primarily, this is due to the level of barricading that Malton is currently suffering from. Barricades are damaged at a 20% rate -- every 5 attacks result, on average, on one item falling off. Considering a 'Very Strongly Barricaded barricade can have 10 items, this means an average of 50 attacks is needed to remove a barricade -- far more than a Zombie is advised to spend, and that's not considering the fleshies inside trying to shore up the barricade.

This means a barricade is best taken down by a number of Zombies attacking it (expending a lot of AP), with a ready reserve of Zombies, who would attack the building, waiting. This implies cooperation on a meta-level which unfortunately is not readily present in the Malton undead.

Personal Style

The last part on tactics is really about personal style. Do you want your zombie to chase down survivors to munch on their brains? Or do you want strike from cover and scare the bejesus out of the snack so that its brain tastes better? Or a juggernaut which just keeps coming and coming and coming?

  • A Chaser would hang around the buildings and hunt survivors aggressively. It would use AP to chase after prey and attack. This kind of Zombie can be found anywhere -- its tendency to chase after prey means it can get into very strange locations. They are very easy for survivors to spot, as they are always visible on the map, but can be difficult to shake off.
This is hard to achieve at low levels because of the 2 AP per block restrictions, but it is something possible after a few levels.
  • An Ambusher would play dead and hide in the numerous bodies around Malton. When a survivor comes near enough, it would stand up and proceed to attack. These are more typical especially at low levels. These Zombies are hard to avoid because they camouflage themselves in the dead bodies -- survivors have been taken apart by a suddenly erupting Zombie(s).
This is especially easy to achieve but relies on knowing where the good hunting spots are. In addition, the Zombie would need to find a way to die again.. which typically isn't a problem in Malton.
  • A Tanker would just keep coming. Using bite attacks to regenerate itself, with high amounts of HP, these aren't built for finesse.
These are fairly rare at low levels because the skills required are more difficult than norm. The need for them is also not very high due to the nature of the game now.

This leads in nicely to the Skills section, which I would discuss now.

Zombie Skills

Skills typically comes in three types:

  • Damage Dealing Improvements
  • AP Improvements
  • Sundry

Personally, I would classify the skills as follows:

Damage Dealing Improvements

AP Improvements


Low Level Skills

At low levels, you should concentrate on skills that improve your damage dealing accuracy and power. The reasoning behind this is simple: Zombies only gain XP from killing. To kill you need to (a) hit, and (b) do damage quickly. The other skills can come later, especially if you adopt the right tactics.

The rule of thumb is that you want to be able to inflict 50 HP of damage within 40 AP, factoring accuracy percentages. This works out to be the magic 1.25 Dam/ AP number. Any Skill that immediately improves your ability to inflict damage above this number is good -- the exact skill chosen is merely a matter of personal preference.

At first level, you got only limited choices. If you do not have Vigour Mortis, you should get it -- it's the root of the Damage Dealing Skill Tree. Assuming you have it, let's take a look at the remaining skills on the tree:

  • Vigour Mortis: Zombie gets +10% to hit with all non-weapon attacks.
  • Neck Lurch: Zombie gets an extra +10% to hit with bite attacks.
  • Death Grip: Zombie gets an extra +20% to hit with hand attacks.
  • Rend Flesh: Hand attacks deal an extra 1 damage.

Then let's take a look at your weapons (assuming you have Vigour Mortis already):

  • Bite: 4 Dam per AP, 20% accuracy (0.8 Dam/ AP)
  • Claw: 2 Dam per AP, 35% accuracy (0.6 Dam/ AP)

So at Level 1, you are better off biting people. Really. You hit less often, but you end up doing more damage -- and hence, more XP -- then using your claws. But do take note, at 0.8 Dam/ AP, you will do on average 32 points of damage.. and this is insufficient to kill a fully capable survivor. So no 10 bonus XP, and don't expect to be able to take a survivor down, and more importantly, don't expect to level fast.

So assuming you scrag some Fleshies and get 100XP. Which skill should you take? Well, it largely becomes a matter of personal choice, but here's some number crunching.

If you take Neck Lurch, this is how your attacks would look like.

  • Bite: 4 Dam per AP, 30% accuracy (1.2 Dam/ AP)
  • Claw: 2 Dam per AP, 35% accuracy (0.6 Dam/ AP)

Compare vs. Death Grip:

  • Bite: 4 Dam per AP, 20% accuracy (0.8 Dam/ AP)
  • Claw: 2 Dam per AP, 55% accuracy (1.0 Dam/ AP)

So, on paper, Neck Lurch seems to be way to go, especially with the 1.2 Dam/ AP number being very close to our Magic Number. This means you can, with a teeny weeny bit of luck, kill off a full survivor and gain the extra 12XP. (42 attacks to inflict 50 Dam.) That's a big bonus!

Furthermore, with Digestion and Infectious Bite, Bite attacks seems to be a good deal. Personally though, I find Digestion to be not as useful as it seems, and Infectious Bite gives me no XP, just the satisfaction of watching the fleshie squirm. :)

The reason I do not find Bite attacks attractive after Level 1 is this: 1.2 Dam/ AP is the maximum Bite Damage can inflict.. In contrast, Claw attacks still have the Rend Flesh Skill to help out. Assuming you take this at this at Level 3 (after Death Grip at Level 2), this alters the attacks to the following:

  • Bite: 4 Dam per AP, 20% accuracy (0.8 Dam/ AP)
  • Claw: 3 Dam per AP, 50% accuracy (1.5 Dam/ AP)

1.5 Dam/ AP is, at present, the highest damage a Zombie can inflict and still earn XP. This is above the Magic Number, and means you can do 50 damage in 34 attacks, leaving you with 6 AP to take actions with -- 3 precious squares of movement, or more attacks on something else. Having 6 more attacks also means you are pretty much guaranteed to take down a full survivor, and with a little luck you can go for 60 HP survivors too.

As such, I personally would recommend building Claw attacks early. The more damage you deal, the more XP you earn, so maxing out your ability to deal damage is critical and would ease the grind a lot.

So what about the other skills? Honestly, they depend on how you fight. If you prefer to chase your food, then you should get Lurching Gait early -- how early depends on which type of attack you prefer. Chasers though, probably would benefit more from Bite Attacks and Infectious Bite, as this actually slows down the survivors so that you can catch them (and kill them easier).

Ambushers REALLY shine once they have Ankle Grab and can snap upright on desire. Budgeting 1 AP instead of 10 AP for standing up (leaving you with a whopping 49 AP to deal damage with.. on average 73.5 points of stand-up, in-your-face! damage..) is really the core of ambushing Zombies. The fact that you need to take Lurching Gait before Ankle Grab is just topping on the cake. :) However, it is rather hard to achieve this before Level 4 or 5, since you should concentrate on improving attack abilities first.

Alternative Thought

With the change to headshot now requiring an additional 5AP to stand up, a potential change of strategy may apply here. For new zombies, obtaining Ankle Grab may now become more important as an early skill, if not the most important one. To the new zombie player, building up XP can be difficult, frustrating, and time-consuming. If you should take a headshot, you will now need 15AP(!!!) to stand up. That leaves 35AP for attacks/walking. With the 2AP walking penalty for zombies without Lurching Gait, you had better hope that the human player is standing next to you! This is usually not the case, so expect to spend half or more of your available AP wandering and looking for a target. Given a 10% chance of successful attack, you can see that building up XP is going to take a while.

So here's an alternate suggestion for adding skills:

Ankle Grab (to remove the 15AP stand up penalty) should be given serious consideration for the first or second skill you choose to purchase. Lurching Gait will remove the 2AP penalty for walking around. This should also be considered for the first or second skill.

After that, the various zombie guides can give you suggestions for the other skills.

This UPDATE has been added because it is often frustrating for new players who choose the Career Zombie path. There are good arguments for augmenting your attack skills first, but if one of your goals is to quickly climb the Zombie skills ladder, removing the Stand Up and Movement penalties should be given serious consideration with the recent changes to the game.

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