Guides:Civilian

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This is the survival guide for Civilian characters.

Civilians

It's difficult to discuss Civilians as a whole, because they do not possess a shared focus like Military or Science. Two players can both start Firefighters, only to have one slowly develop into a support class and the other build upwards into a zombie-demolition machine. There's no "best path" to follow. Nevertheless, there are certain truisms that any civilian would do well to follow.

Starting Out

The class of civilian you choose to begin with does a lot to set your early course in the game. A Firefighter can easily level within the first two days of playing, while a Consumer may need to spend as many as two weeks running about in a fight to survive before managing enough experience to reach his or her next skill. This is mostly due to the starting skills and abilities provided in each starting class. Firefighters get the skills and abilities necessary to do a lot of damage very quickly, while Consumer begin with a skill of little use to a starting character without attack abilities, and a phone that has no XP value. This is a severe handicap.

In short, you should only choose Consumer for the challenge of playing a weak starting class, or for purposes of realism. Playing a human at all shows that you are willing to risk your entire character in play; playing a Consumer presents some unique and realistic limitations to people who wish to play a normal person in-game. If you like the idea of starting from nothing and managing to make it day-to-day by the skin of your teeth, a Consumer is for you. For everyone else, it's at the moment a mostly-broken class with little going for it. Don't start as a Consumer if you're looking to effectively fight or gain levels early on.

There is an alternative viewpoint, however. Consumers are not useful in a fight, but this does not make them useless in their beginning levels. Their Shopping Skill gives them a considerable advantage in the Healing stakes. Gaining Shopping automatically makes a Consumer instantly able to use the best source of first aid kits in the game - the Mall Drug Store. At level 1, a Consumer has an approximately 33% better chance of acquiring first aid kits (as long as they stick around a Mall), and gain as much XP as they heal, allowing them to save around 2AP per first aid kit in Searching AP.

It's recommended that newcomers to Malton try a Firefighter. Firefighters level quickly, are intuitive to play, and can start right in the action. The Civilian classes impose no penalties and grant no discounts when purchasing skills. Gaining any skill for 100 XP allows great flexibility in developing your character. Cops are another option, but be aware of the limitations inherent in firearms. Many rookie Cops have fired their initial ammunition off at a single zombie, then fallen in short order while attempting to secure more munitions. Nevertheless, Cops are essentially Privates without penalties to learning Science skills, which is powerful.

For experienced players, Civilians are hardly a poor choice. They easily progress in many areas, while still maintaining the basic flavours of other classes if desired. You can be as skilled in Firearms as a Private, yet be able to revive zombies. Indeed, by mixing and matching different sets of skills, a Civilian can be far more flexible than either other class can manage.

As for those critical first 50 turns, each Civilian class has a different way to use them. Firefighters should run around Malton and go all out in assault (preferably on zombies). Cops should act like a Private: Find Ammunition and first aid kits. This provides multiple sources of experience, and you don't want to use all your defensive attack power just to gain your next level. Consumers desperately need to find a Hospital or Mall. Healing the wounded is the easiest way to obtain experience for combat or Necrotech skills, or simply Diagnosis to boost healing effectiveness. In the meantime, seek out combat-heavy areas to dash through in healing runs. Consider asking large groups "Who needs healing?" so you can be as helpful as possible.

Surviving

Consumers should be paranoid. To survive, avoid all attention from everyone. People attract zombies, and zombies will kill you. Avoid large groups of survivors, and you'll be less likely to be found. Apartment towers are low priority targets, so unless you collect a large group and make it obvious you are staying in a location you will often be ignored.

Sometimes, it is possible to survive in large groups. If you're going to be in a building with a group other people be sure of a few things first. Make sure that they are going to be around for a while. You don't want to wake up one day and find that all 50 of them left, the barricades have collapsed, and there are some unsavory teeth marks on your skull. Make sure that the people you're with want you there. There are some groups who will kill on sight anybody that isn't in their group, or those they believe to be spies for other groups and/or zombies.

It seems rather counter-intuitive, but don't barricade your hideouts. If anything, barricade nearby buildings. Barricaded buildings scream "survivors inside," and nothing attracts a zombie like a hot meal. This means Hospitals, Police Departments, Forts, and Malls are hot spots, and any barricaded building is likely to be broken into eventually.

The above advice is really only good for areas of low zombie activity. In areas with many zombies, one or more are sure to check out any unbarricaded buildings.

This same thing goes for Cops and Firefighters, though not quite in the same quantities of emphasis. Cops and Firefighters should seek out Police Departments. Either one will want to have some ready shotgun blasts for desperate situations. Just don't stay there! Find a location you want to search, then head a few blocks away, just outside the visual radius of the location. Hide in a nondescript building there, such as a tower, factory, or any place utterly devoid of anything that would interest someone in being there. Zombies will likely just walk by, and when you duck in to the Police Station to grab what you need, you'll be in and out so quickly you won't be noticed by anyone, either dead or alive.

As a corollary, always make sure that you have at least 4 AP remaining when entering a building. You may think it takes away from your zombie-killin' outside, but the first time you run into a "safehouse" only to find it open and filled with zombies you'll be happy to be able to head those two blocks away. Staying overnight in a zombie-infested building is suicide.

Don't attack zombies unless you're prepared to have them come after you, or prepared to kill them. This applies to DNA Extracting as well: If you leave them moving, they may follow you to get a retributive attack in. If you are going to tag or attack a zombie, do it when you either have 10 turns to move away (making other targets better options) or you're able to kill or revive the zombie in question afterwards. Yes, this will generally mean abandoning the place you've holed up in, but that shouldn't mean anything to you anyways. Don't hold out in a location when it becomes dangerous to do so. Only fools die for particular land when there's other land available.

Leveling

There is no best progression for any Civilian class to follow. "Best builds" stop working when you can buy every skill available at the same cost, because anything you can play and play well becomes the optimal option. Nevertheless, here are some suggestions for the first three levels for the Civilian classes. These should boost you chance of survival, and give you something to fall back on when it's necessary.

Consumers

  • Level One:

Shopping - The Default. Not the best starting skill.

The fastest way for Consumers to level up is to heal other players. Finding people to heal can be tricky in crowded buildings because players with Diagnosis will usually do the job first. You can simply try to heal players by trial and error (trying to heal a player who isn't hurt wastes one action point but doesn't waste the first aid kit). Otherwise step outside and look for survivors who are stuck outside without AP, particularly those in the same square as zombies (refresh a few times to be sure they are stationary and not in transit).

If you are desperate (such as when there aren't even zombies around to punch), you can "create" your own healing opportunities. Find another desperate Consumer. Take turns punching and healing each other. Healing 1 HP from a punch gives the full 5 XP. Or take two consumers plus a skilled axeman (with Hand to Hand Combat and Axe Proficiency and thus 40% chance to hit). Each Consumer collects 6 first aid kits (spending about 50 AP each). The trained axeperson spends 25 AP attacking each Consumer (averages out as 30 HP damage each Consumer, and 10 XP for the firefighter). Each consumer heals the other 6 times (each gaining 30XP).

Be sure to only do the above with someone whom you know and who agrees to it. Otherwise, you'll be labeled a PKer.

  • Level Two:

Diagnosis - No more asking if people need healing, or running directly into harm's way to get XP. Guaranteed 5 XP per attempted heal from now on, with little risk. Anybody you meet on the streets probably needs healing.

  • Level Three:

Free Running - Safety in avoidance, simple as that, and most places you'll want to be getting into are going to be locked up tighter than the liquor cabinet on Sundays. Running to a location with only a few AP left only to find it locked tight as a drum often results in death. Getting there with Free Running nearly guarantees a safe night's rest.

Cops

  • Level One:

Firearms Training - A good default. Comes in handy.

  • Level Two:

Shotgun Training - Somewhat counter-intuitive, yes? Pistols used to be your best bet in low-level survivalism, but now that most PDs are locked up tight you're going to have to find alternate arrangements. Pubs and other Taverns present you with a source of health-restoration and shotgun armament, and they're lower priority targets for zombies than a Police Department will ever be. Besides, now that more and more zombies are getting Scent Trail you'll need to make sure you off each one to prevent them from following. Five shotgun hits will do well in making sure this happens fast, and by carrying multiple shotguns you'll likely find this will happen easily. Plus it means you'll deal damage efficiently, and get back somewhere safe to rest and reload.

  • Level Three:

Free Running - This skill is almost becoming required. If you have it you can get in anywhere, and that's becoming quite important... since the streets are get more deadly each day. If you want a guaranteed ticket into Police Departments, you'll need Free Running.


Firefighters

  • Level One:

Axe Training - Makes you the deadliest starting character there is at present, short of zombie corpses. You could possibly kill someone on your first day, with luck.

  • Level Two:

Hand-to-Hand Combat - Increase your abilities with the axe, and enjoy the slaughter. Makes you pretty much the deadliest combatant on the human side. If you put your mind to it, you can put in the AP to kill absolutely anything.

  • Level Three:

Free Running - You burn most of your AP in attacking people, so saving two AP a run will most definitely add up to your benefit. You'll want to hit hospitals every now and again, given your constant exposure to zombie attack, and this helps you get in.


Beyond this, it's pretty open for any sort of progression. One can focus on mall abilities, to open the door to all sorts of useful item collection and the eventual value of trade therein. NecroTech is always a good option, as it gives you instant value and a powerful weapon in your revives. And, of course, you can go for several different types of "assault" skills, such as Bodybuilding and First Aid to keep yourself alive and the weapon-skills to be able to slay under any circumstance.

It's pretty much open game from the point of third level on. Go for what interests you, or what you want to pursue. Take whatever you find helpful.

Combat vs. Support

As far as abilities go, however... which is better? Those to help yourself deal with zombies, or those to help fortify or assist others? Well, for the most part it depends on what you're most interested in. If you see yourself as more of the doctor, healer, buffer or reviver - go with those. If you're the tank, go with being the tank.

Frankly, though - if you're most interested in being one or the other of those exclusively, you're better off taking a Science or Military class. Civilians are powerful in their ability to multitask. Your Firefighter will someday be able to shift effortlessly between attacking and defending a location or group, and that comes into play often. Especially when wandering alone, you'll need to fulfill all your own needs, which means dealing with everything that comes your way. Being able to gain experience through multiple options means always having something useful to do with your actions.

You needn't focus on any play style as a Civilian. Focus on what you want to be first, and learn skills as desired and necessary. The flexibility to fight on your own terms is your strength here.

Higher Levels

The sky's the limit here. Civilians actually require the least experience to learn all of the skills. You can easily get to the point where you can fulfill several roles on the fly, switching from axe-toting combat monster to reviving healer-type. Given the number of skills likely to pop up now that the server coding is optimized for the load again, you can look forward to having free run of everything in the future. Play your cards right, learn skills which you both enjoy and can use effectively, and you can become immensely powerful as both a hunter and survivor.

You can go from being the current weakest starting class in the game to being potentially the most masterful in the shortest amount of XP. Not bad for a civilian, is it?

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