Guides:Managing Encumbrance

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Encumbrance is the measure of the amount of items in one's inventory. Improperly managing your character's encumbrance can lead to AP spoilage, missed opportunities and in some cases death. This guide's focus is to provide information on how to best manage encumbrance.

Encumbrance Basics

Each searchable item in Malton has an encumbrance cost associated with it. The cost of items range from 0% - 20%. Once your character reaches 100% encumbrance, you won't be able to pick up any more items (with the exception of some decorative holiday items). Knowing the costs of items before searching can help you make decisions on how to properly manage your encumbrance. This table lists the cost of each searchable item in Malton. As you can see very few items cost more than 6% encumbrance and most are at either 2 or 4 percent. Those numbers may look small but it can quickly add up. The average survivor probably carries only about 30 to 40 items at any given time. It's very possible to carry more than this though and this guide aims to increase the amount of items you're carrying at one time.

Base Encumbrance

Every style of play comes with some essential items. These items are generally not consumables and you will likely carry them with you at all times. The idea that characters have a base encumbrance ties in with these essential items so you'll want to choose your essential items wisely. Keep them to a minimum and you'll be able to more easily manage your inventory and encumbrance.

Base encumbrance is the sum of the encumbrance costs of all of your essential items. Good inventory management starts with establishing a low base encumbrance. It should be within the 8-22% range. If you find your base encumbrance is higher than this, you may want to consider just how essential some of your essential items really are. If dropping an item and finding it later would not vastly change your day-to-day style of play, then it probably isn't essential.

Once you know your base encumbrance. It's time to start thinking about action oriented inventory. The section below goes into further detail on this subject and contains tables which will help you maximize your inventory based on your encumbrance. For simplicity, base encumbrance costs are listed as Base 8 through Base 22.

Strategies

Search Settings

You're likely going to want to change your search settings as soon as possible. All across Malton, you'll find items that serve little or no purpose at all. Crucifixes for example have absolutely no purpose. They just take up encumbrance and inventory slots. Reading poetry books adds a bit of flavor to the game but does not grant XP and thus provides little value. Many melee weapons like fencing foils, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles and tennis rackets cost a relatively high encumbrance yet have low damage and accuracy percentages. These items are best left unfound. You may drop them at any time but you may forget they are in your inventory until after you've received an encumbrance warning. It's best if you never pick them up to begin with.

After you've found some essential items, consider changing your character's search preferences to something similar to below to avoid picking up unneeded items.

Search preferences.jpg

Some items provide no additional value if you already have one of that item type in your inventory and so it is best that you remove them from search settings. Having multiple Flak Jackets won't provide additional protections and having multiple toolboxes doesn't increase your barricading odds, for example.

When to drop items

Items can be dropped for zero AP at any time. You'll want to drop items when they serve no practical value like crucifixes and sports equipment but you will also want to drop items when they are no longer necessary to your chosen actions. This can sometime be a difficult choice given the AP investment in searching for items. But the AP returned by giving up inventory not geared towards your next choice of actions will outweigh AP "lost" by dropping items you won't be using.

Action Oriented Inventory

This man clearly has one action in mind.

It's normal to want to be prepared for any situation that you might encounter in-game but this type of thinking is usually detrimental to your AP. The more AP you spend going back to a TRP to restock, the less effective you are being. Consider devoting most of your inventory to one or two specific types of actions at a time. Ask yourself, "What action do I want to do right now". Fill your inventory with items for that specific action and avoid searching for items specific to other actions.

Backpacker.JPG Curse You Encumbrance!!!
This user carries around a lot of crap.
Avoid searching for items that aren't likely immediately necessary as well. For example, if you are a survivor in a repaired suburb, avoid searching for toolboxes "just in case" you find one or two ruined buildings in need of repair. You're better off filling your inventory with an item which will get some immediate use. You can always go back to that building on a repair run when your decisive action will be that of a builder.

For the purpose of this guide, actions are broken up into a few different categories:

  • Healer/Reviver - Heals and revives players
  • Killer - Kills either zombies or other survivors
  • Builder - Repairs ruined buildings and installs generators
  • Destroyer - Destroys generators and radio transmitters
  • Decorator - Installs Museum pieces and other decorative items inside buildings
  • Recruiter - Uses graffiti for recruitment purposes while using other helpful items
  • Meatshield - Uses many resources to make sure safehouses stay safe
  • Zombie - Undead yet takes advantage of certain items

Using these categories of actions and your base encumbrance, an action based inventory can be calculated for maximum efficiency. The tables below are broken down into specific actions and the maximum amount of consumable items you can carry.

Healer/Reviver

The nice thing about the healer/reviver is that the both FAKs and NTSs are light weight, allowing you to carry a large amount at one time. So much so that if you fill your entire inventory with one type, then you're being wasteful. Unless you're a combat reviver, or in a suburb in need of a lot of medical or reviving needs, consider filling your inventory with 50/50 or 75/25 percent FAKs and syringes. You can also just fill 50 or 75 percent of either and use some other helpful item like fuel, museum pieces, an extra generator or radio transmitter.

Number of items per base encumbrance percentage
Item(s) Base 8 Base 10 Base 12 Base 14 Base 16 Base 18 Base 20 Base 22
100% FAKs and/or Syringes 46 45 44 43 42 41 40 39
75% FAKs and/or Syringes 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26
50% FAKs and/or Syringes 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14

Killer

Ammo and firearms are the staple of the killer. There are varying opinions on what combination of firearms is the most AP efficient. For that reason, multiple firearm/ammo combinations are listed below. For more information about reloading techniques, see below.

Item(s) Base 8 Base 10 Base 12 Base 14 Base 16 Base 18 Base 20 Base 22
2 pistols and ammo 2 pistols
34 clips
2 pistols
32 clips
2 pistols
30 clips
2 pistols
28 clips
2 pistols
26 clips
2 pistols
24 clips
2 pistols
22 clips
2 pistols
20 clips
3 pistols and ammo 3 pistols
30 clips
3 pistols
28 clips
3 pistols
26 clips
3 pistols
24 clips
3 pistols
22 clips
3 pistols
20 clips
3 pistols
18 clips
3 pistols
16 clips
2 pistols/1 shotgun and ammo 2 pistols
1 shotgun
32 clips/shells
2 pistols
1 shotgun
30 clips/shells
2 pistols
1 shotgun
28 clips/shells
2 pistols
1 shotgun
26 clips/shells
2 pistols
1 shotgun
24 clips/shells
2 pistols
1 shotgun
22 clips/shells
2 pistols
1 shotgun
20 clips/shells
2 pistols
1 shotgun
18 clips/shells
2 pistols/2 shotguns and ammo 2 pistols
2 shotgun
22 clips/shells
2 pistols
2 shotgun
20 clips/shells
2 pistols
2 shotgun
18 clips/shells
2 pistols
2 shotgun
16 clips/shells
2 pistols
2 shotgun
14 clips/shells
2 pistols
2 shotgun
12 clips/shells
2 pistols
2 shotgun
10 clips/shells
2 pistols
2 shotgun
8 clips/shells

Builder

Builder refers to the act of repairing ruined buildings using a toolbox. Builders often carry portable generators, fuel and sometimes radio transmitters with them as well. This guide assumes that only one transmitter will be carried at any time. If other transmitters are carried, subtract that number from the number of generators for your base encumbrance.

Item(s) Base 8 Base 10 Base 12 Base 14 Base 16 Base 18 Base 20 Base 22
Toolbox and Generators 1 toolbox
4 generators
1 toolbox
4 generators
1 toolbox
4 generators
1 toolbox
4 generators
1 toolbox
4 generators
1 toolbox
4 generators
1 toolbox
4 generators
1 toolbox
4 generators
Toolbox, Generators and Fuel 1 toolbox
3 generators
8 fuel cans
1 toolbox
3 generators
6 fuel cans
1 toolbox
3 generators
4 fuel cans
1 toolbox
3 generators
2 fuel cans
1 toolbox
2 generators
14 fuel cans
1 toolbox
2 generators
12 fuel cans
1 toolbox
2 generators
10 fuel cans
1 toolbox
2 generators
8 fuel cans
Toolbox, Generators, Fuel and Radio Transmitters 1 toolbox
2 generators
8 fuel cans
1 transmitter
1 toolbox
2 generators
6 fuel cans
1 transmitter
1 toolbox
2 generators
4 fuel cans
1 transmitter
1 toolbox
2 generators
2 fuel cans
1 transmitter
1 toolbox
1 generator
14 fuel cans
1 transmitter
1 toolbox
1 generator
12 fuel cans
1 transmitter
1 toolbox
1 generator
10 fuel cans
1 transmitter
1 toolbox
1 generator
8 fuel cans
1 transmitter

Destroyer

Those that destroy generators and radio transmitters. Firearms and melee weapons both may be used for GKing and RKing and normal hit percentages apply. Generators and Radio Transmitters don't have health, per se; once five successful attacks land on the generator, it is destroyed. For this reason, a melee weapon is generally most effective. GKers and RKers will often carry radios and binoculars to help in their hunt for targets. Because they are considered by many to be the lowliest play style you can pick, GKers/RKers are often targeted and should carry a generous supply of FAKs.

Item(s) Base 8 Base 10 Base 12 Base 14 Base 16 Base 18 Base 20 Base 22
Radios and FAKs 4 radios
38 FAKs
4 radios
36 FAKs
4 radios
34 FAKs
4 radios
32 FAKs
4 radios
30 FAKs
4 radios
28 FAKs
4 radios
26 FAKs
4 radios
24 FAKs
Radios, Binoculars and FAKs 4 radios
1 binoculars
34 FAKs
4 radios
1 binoculars
32 FAKs
4 radios
1 binoculars
30 FAKs
4 radios
1 binoculars
28 FAKs
4 radios
1 binoculars
26 FAKs
4 radios
1 binoculars
24 FAKs
4 radios
1 binoculars
22 FAKs
4 radios
1 binoculars
20 FAKs

Decorator

Adding decorative items inside buildings serves little purpose. It does not affect the rate at which zombies can ruin buildings nor does it help survivors barricade them. Nonetheless there, you'll find decorative items everywhere you go, especially during holidays. There is a definite niche for them. If you're a stationary survivor and stick to safe suburbs, decorator might be an action you'll take up when you literally have nothing better to do. The table below shows the max amount of decorative items you can carry at once.

Item(s) Base 8 Base 10 Base 12 Base 14 Base 16 Base 18 Base 20 Base 22
Museum Pieces 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4
Skulls 16 15 15 15 14 14 14 13
Christmas Lights 42 40 38 36 34 32 30 28

Recruiter

Recruiters use spraycans to tag buildings with graffiti in an effort to bolster their group's image. Recruiters also carry items which help other survivors in hopes that they can entice others to their cause. Those searching for political gain and notoriety may also employ spraycans and tag propaganda around the city. They often carry weaponry rather than helpful items to assist with these goals.

Item(s) Base 8 Base 10 Base 12 Base 14 Base 16 Base 18 Base 20 Base 22
Spray Cans and Helpful Items (FAKs, syringes or fuel) 10 spray cans
36 helpful items
10 spray cans
34 helpful items
10 spray cans
32 helpful items
10 spray cans
30 helpful items
10 spray cans
28 helpful items
10 spray cans
26 helpful items
10 spray cans
24 helpful items
10 spray cans
22 helpful items

Meatshield

The meatshield aims to keep safehouses safe from zombies. This means carrying a variety of items that they will use depending on the situation. They carry FAKs to keep fellow meatshields healthy, syringes for combat revives, ammunition, fuel, spare generators and various other items. This is the least AP friendly action since it requires leaving the safehouse often to restock on resources. The key to successful meatshield inventory management is finding the right balance.

Item(s) Base 8 Base 10 Base 12 Base 14 Base 16 Base 18 Base 20 Base 22
FAKs, syringes, pistols, pistol clips, generator, fuel 20 FAKS
20 syringes
2 pistols
20 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel
20 FAKS
20 syringes
2 pistols
20 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel
19 FAKS
19 syringes
2 pistols
19 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel
18 FAKS
18 syringes
2 pistols
18 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel
18 FAKS
18 syringes
2 pistols
18 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel
17 FAKS
17 syringes
2 pistols
17 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel
16 FAKS
16 syringes
2 pistols
16 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel
16 FAKS
16 syringes
2 pistols
16 clips
1 generator
1 can of fuel

Zombie

There are some items that can be found while living that are useful to characters during undeath. Most of the items usable by zombies are melee weapons but because they are much less efficient than claw and bite, they are only effective as "flavor" deaths ("A zombie killed Some Survivor with a golf club" for example). The 3 most beneficial items to a zombie are Flak Jackets, GPS Navigators, and hand-held radios. Regular encumbrance costs apply to zombies and you cannot find any items while you are undead. You may drop items as a zombie.

  • Flak Jackets are good for low-level zombie players without Flesh Rot or for zombie players that choose not to buy the skill (Brain Rot is a requirement for Flesh Rot).
    • Flak Jackets cost 2% encumbrance.
  • GPS Units can be useful for a number of reason, but generally help you find your way around Malton. This item can be left unfound if using the A GPS-Coordinates script described below.
    • GPS Units cost 2% encumbrance.
  • Broadcasts made over radio transmitters can be heard by zombie players with a hand-held radio tuned to that frequency. The zombie won't be able to retune the radio unless they become living, however. Zombies may want to carry a number of radios tuned to various frequencies (Mall Frequencies for example) to help them find targets or get useful information about suburbs.
    • Radios cost 4% encumbrance. In addition to this, radios also take up 5 inventory slots. Therefore, the maximum amount of radios any character can carry is 16, which will fill 80 of the 81 available inventory slots.


Reloading Tips

Pistol Reload.jpg

When you fire at something/someone, only the type of weapon is sent to the server, you cannot specify which of your pistols/shotguns you'd like to use. The weapon used is the first in the list that is of the correct type and has at least 1 shot left. Knowing this, you can plan your reloading more efficiently. For example, assuming your first pistol is empty and second has one shot left, it would be most efficient to wait for next shot before reloading both guns. If you reloaded immediately, you would have to empty the entire pistol before being able to reload the second efficiently. Use this technique when you're firing at something close to a Police Department or Mall and you'll be able to duck in and grab and extra pistol/shotgun ammo that you otherwise may not have been able to pick up.

Pushing the Limit

It's quite common to have an encumbrance over 100%. It happens simply when your total encumbrance is high you find an item with an encumbrance that puts you over the 100% mark. This can and often is exploited by people who want to maximize their encumbrance. Some of the most useful items to survivors like toolboxes and generators have high encumbrances costs. So while stocking up on other useful items, you may want to stop at around 98 or 99% in order to leave room for one large item.

Holiday decorative items like Christmas lights, Christmas trees and pumpkins ignore your current encumbrance; you can keep picking them up well after you've hit 100%. You still won't be able to pick up other items, though and decorative items do not ignore the inventory slot limit (explained below).

Other Notes

Encumbrance Saving Scripts

There are some user scripts which can be used to replace certain items in Urban Dead. The DSS Satellite Phone script replaces the need for a cell phone for most users and the A-GPS Coordinates script replaces the need for a GPS Unit.

Item combining scripts do not save encumbrance costs though they are useful for keeping your inventory nice and tidy.

Inventory Slots

As well as the encumbrance percentage, each inventory is also limited by inventory slots. Just as you can't pick up items while being 100% encumbered or more, if the items that you are carrying fill 81 slots or more then you cannot pick up any more items either, giving the following message when searching:

Despite your encumbrance, you simply cannot carry any more.

Most items take only a single inventory slot, and so it's very rare to unintentionally exceed the slot limit, however, if you carry too many radios (which fill 5 slots - 4 of which store the radio's frequency) then you may receive this message.

For a full list of the number of slots that each item fills, see the Item codes article.

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