Guides:Survivor Skills

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In-depth analysis and strategies for selecting and using skills.

Headshot

Headshot can be considered a "siege" skill, and an annoyance to both high and low-level zombies alike. It makes that poor Zombie spend an extra 5ap to stand up again. Zombies with Ankle Grab will have to spend 6 AP to get up again, and zombies without that skill will have a loss of 15 AP when trying to get up. That helps by making them spend a precious 5ap, which they could have used gnawing on your ankle or bashing on 'cades. It doesn't give any experience, and you need to be at least level 10 to buy it.

Keep in mind that clever zombies, upon finding a group of humans, will search for those with Headshot first. Too many, and they'll flee. Just one, and that human dies first.

Free Running

An important skill due to the high amount of heavily barricaded safehouses in Malton. It allows survivors to move from building to building without risking a journey through the streets, and provides a path to safety when you might otherwise be trapped outside. Without free running, heavily barricaded safehouses cannot be entered. With free running, those safehouses are accessible from any adjacent building. Some players discourage barricading up to "Heavily," but the trend is likely to continue, making Free Running a strategic skill.

An extremely useful resource for the dedicated Free Runner is the map found here which boils the city down to the basics - empty space, or a building. Keep your eyes open, know your entry and exit points, and you can move with impunity.

Shopping & Bargain Hunting

Malls are high-profile targets for zombie hordes, and consequently they are difficult to enter and dangerous. Without Free Running, it is usually impossible to enter a mall. Without Shopping, mall searchers are at the mercy of the random number generator, and are unlikely to find needed equipment. As a consequence, low-level survivors are better off using police departments and hospitals to search for their equipment (ranged weapons and first-aid kits respectively).

Searching a police department has a synergistic added benefit for a low-level survivor: unlike malls, police departments contain flak jackets.

Before learning Bargain Hunting (or Shopping), survivors are first encouraged to develop skills that increase their rate of experience gain. Survivors can develop their ranged weapon skills (such as Basic Firearms and Pistol Training), melee weapons skills (Hand-to-Hand Combat and Axe Proficiency), medical skills (Diagnosis is sufficient to use first-aid kits for XP), or necroscience (NecroTech Employment to scan zombies). Would-be mall hunters must also learn Free Running.

For an experienced character, the mall offers by far the best search odds in the game for ammunition and for first-aid kits. A ranged weapon specialist should use the mall's gun store instead of the police department, since the chance of finding an (unwanted) flak jacket or flare gun is replaced by additional bullets and shells. A healing specialist should use the mall's drug store, which does not have the useless newspapers found in the hospital.

According to the latest data, the Bargain Hunting skill improves your item find in the mall from about 20-22% to about 33-35%. In contradiction to its skill description, this appears to be a +10% to +15% increase in your chance to find an item. Before you complain, however, notice that this means that you will receive at least 50% more items on average for the same number of searches. Practically speaking, this represents a huge reduction in the amount of time that your character wastes on shopping. Hence Bargain Hunting should be a high priority for any frequent mall-shopper.

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