Guides:Zombie

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

Originally posted in the forums by Drakkenmaw, this is a guide for Zombie characters.

Zombies

Zombies are the heart of Urban Dead. Without this group, the game would hardly be possible - you cannot have a zombie apocalypse without zombies. As such, the powers which have been put into the game to promote the zombie forces are both unique and extremely powerful. Your zombie can deal as much damage as a Firefighter, and heal itself simply through attacking others. It can stand up after taking a shotgun to the chest with only a small AP penalty. The only attacks which can affect your character in any significant way are a Headshot from an experienced Zombie Hunter (no longer a rare sight in Malton) and a revivification syringe, which depending on your dedication to the class may only inconvenience you for 5 turns at maximum. Plenty of buildings exist to leap from. In Malton, after all, there are many ways to die.

Luckily, you can always just stand up as a zombie.

Starting Out

If you intend on playing a zombie, you have a choice: begin as a Corpse, or select a survivor class with the intention of dying after you acquire some useful skill and/or items.

Human First

Going all out and grabbing every "zombie-functional" human skill, a zombie could conceivably spend 300 XP simply buying survivor abilities in "preparation" for a conversion to the other side. Getting those levels would take lots of time or investment in other XP-farming skills, though, so the question in every new zombie's mind should be, "Is it worth it to spend time as a human to get skills to use as a zombie?" It's a strategic decision. If you do decide that human skills are worth it for you, the following human skills and items are usable as a zombie:

Human Skills

  1. Bodybuilding. Gives you 60 HP to play with. Not amazing, but will become more useful to beginning zombies as Headshot becomes more common among high-level survivors.
 # Flesh rot may replace this skill and a flak jacket for career zombies who have brain rot.
  1. Diagnosis. Basically worthless - a skill on the zombie line leading up to the immensely-useful Scent Trail skill already gives this ability, so the XP is better put elsewhere even if there is an inherent bonus to slaying people.
  2. Necrotech Employment. Marginally useful, because it allows specific preying on the weakest class combat-wise, but not amazing either. An obvious choice for a starting skill, however, since it's able to be obtained free.

Items

  1. Flak Jacket. Takes 1 damage off every 5 dealt to you but only by firearms. Flak jacket does not reduce the damage done by melee weapons. A decent choice for low-level zombies, as it keeps you from potentially losing some of your AP from standing up, but it's not as amazing as people make it out to be. Most survivors carry enough weaponry to take out at least one zombie, so even with the damage reduction you can expect that anyone intent on attacking you will likely kill you.
  2. Blunt Weaponry. Pipes, crowbars, and so on. No, I don't really know why these are zombie-capable armament. Although they can be used against barricades, it is widely accepted that claw attacks function better in this role, so don't worry about specifically collecting blunt weapons. If you do stumble upon them, however, don't bother throwing them away; eventually, some use might be put in the game for them.

Strategy

My own personal suggestion for "human-built zombies" is as follows - make a NecroTech. I know Cop is the most-suggested on this, but a NecroTech starts out with an easy XP-gain system and one of the undead-usable skills for free. You can loot a flak jacket within your first 50 turns anyways. Spend a day or two working your way up to 200 XP, then buy Bodybuilding and hurl yourself out a window. Afterwards, stand up and immediately purchase Vigor Mortis. It's quick, relatively easy, and you wind up with three usable abilities instead of one. Good way to go.

Zombie First

Starting as a human is a lot of preparation for things that will only truly help you in your lowest levels. By the time you get Neck Lurch, you'll be gaining enough XP to not even need worry about headshots. My true recommendation is to go straight Corpse - you start out with a combat-modifier to your attacks, and can begin play by racking up experience almost immediately. Besides, if you really want those survivor carryover skills, there are more than enough people running around with NecroTech syringes that your chances of getting revived at some point are pretty good, and you can just buy whatever human skills you want then.

Surviving

Survival is not an issue for you. You may not be Gloria Gaynor, but you will survive. Even if you're killed, it takes all of ten AP (not much, in the long run) to stand back up again at full health, with no ill effects. The only things you need to look out for are headshots and revivification. Revivification is annoying, but easy to deal with - just leap out a building (see suicide points), and go back to being dead. No harm, no foul. Heck, a human on the street (where you will likely be for the first few levels) is a sitting duck, anyway; you may wake up to find that you have been revived . . . then immediately slain by another zombie. Thank these people - they've saved you a turn or two in having to find, open, enter, and jump out of a building.

Due to the mechanics of the game, it is safer to hide in the large horde of zeds. Your screen is only updated if you do something, So someone else can be inside the square just spraying bullets all over, and you would never notice unless you did something to refresh the screen (which uses up a server hit). By hiding in a horde (herd?) you decrease your chance of being targeted, as well as increase the chance of a fellow zed player spotting the attack (and retaliating!). Don't forget to spend those last few AP going for a quick injury on a fellow zed. If a hunter comes along, the first zeds they try to take out are the ones with fewer HP.

With the advent of ankle grab skill, it's easier than ever to get right back up and start attacking again.

Headshots are a more annoying problem. As your leveling is somewhat slow in your early time in the game, a few headshots eating up 5 AP per death can really take away some AP that would be otherwise used gnawing on survivors. This is why I recommend that starter zombies avoid major combat zones. Areas such as the forts and certain police departments are magnets for high-level survivors, and I assure you that they take no small glee in paying the undead back for their survival problems by handicapping their growth whenever possible. In any case, your lack of utility skills makes you unable to get inside and gain much experience. Besides, you can find plenty of prey elsewhere. That actually brings me to my next section . . .

Hunting

As a low-level zombie (i.e., a zombie with about 1 to 3 zombie skills), you're stuck with some serious problems when trying to catch and kill humans. You can't open doors, you move slowly, and most intelligent survivors never go offline while on the street. Basically, you have 4 potential targets.

FOOD SOURCE #1. Survivors who get trapped outside. Most of these are newbs, a few are experienced players who failed to budget AP properly. For low-level zombies lucky enough to have Lurching Gait, these survivors serve as a major food source. For zombies who don't have Lurching Gait, searching out these survivors is a bad idea, as it wastes too many AP. Remember: you want to find a safe hiding place after a day's hunting; either the interior of a building or (as a last resort) a large group of zombies.

FOOD SOURCE #2. Survivors who hide behind closed doors or flimsy barricades. In areas where all the buildings are barricaded to "extremely heavy", or in areas where barricades have been destroyed due to warfare, you may occasionally find survivors hiding behind nothing but doors. More likely, you will find a building which is only "loosely barricaded" or "lightly barricaded" thanks to previous zombie predation. If you have Memories of Life, open the box and eat the contents. If the building contains any zombie hunters, budget some AP to run away and hide. If you don't have MoL, you obviously can't enter buildings unless a thoughtful zombie has left the doors open for you.

FOOD SOURCE #3. Survivors in a busted safehouse. The lvl. 10 zombies have broken into a major safehouse, and devoured half the survivors. They're generous though; they leave the doors open, allowing other zombies to finish off the unfortunate occupants. Rejoice in their generosity... you can easily make 50+ XP this way. I wouldn't advise searching for opportunities like this, but if they come up, they provide a good chance to level before a headshot drops you.

FOOD SOURCE #4. Other zombies. It's not pretty, but if you have neither Memories of Life nor Lurching Gait, you'll probably have to feed on other zombies until you can get one of those skills. Be prepared for retaliation if you do this, and try to eat some survivor brains too, as attacking zombies yields a pitiful amount of XP.

More experienced zombies have a variety of techniques at their disposal, including the use of scent trail to find safehouses, but, ultimately, if you want to help the horde, you have to metagame. Look at some of the Zombie Groups for more information.

Feeding Groans

Move diagonally to save AP whenever following feeding groans with two cardinal directions.

Feeding groans typically (but definitely not always) lead to a good feeding area to find survivors to munch on.

Remember when you are following a feeding groan: move diagonally. Moving, especially for a low level zombie, soaks up precious AP so moving diagonally is a great way to conserve it.

For example, suppose you hear a feeding groan 2 blocks west and 3 blocks north. As a low level zombie, if you move orthogonally, the cost will be 10 AP (one for each square x2 for movement without lurching gait). But if you move diagonally, it will only cost 6 AP. That's 4 more chances to hit.

If the groan is [5,6] away, you use 22 AP orthogonally but only 12 AP diagonally. That's 10 more chances to take a bite out of a survivor, which is a serious advantage!

Leveling

Combat is your first priority. Zombies have no alternate XP sources, so making sure that you kill people as efficiently as possible is a major goal. If you already have Vigour Mortis, go for Neck Lurch. If you don't, take Vigour Mortis. Seriously, nothing else will increase your killing speed - and your killing speed is your experience-gain rate.

Skill Suggestions

After that necessity, it becomes important to take skills as they fit your situation. My own recommendation would be Memories of Life, as more and more humans are taking refuge indoors - but, if your area seems to be zombie-packed and mostly-devoid of living beings, you might be best with Lurching Gait to help you quickly scout new areas to hunt in. Scent Fear and its line is really more of an accessory-skill, which comes into play after you're already a decent hunter, so I'd put it off. Similarly, Brain Rot is more a "mark of ability" than a true matter of import in most cases, so it can be put off to nearly the very last.

As there's effectively only one "class" of zombie, I can easily offer my actual recommendation for a skill-tree progression. Here's how I suggest you go:

  1. Lurching Gait
  2. Ankle Grab
  3. Memories of Life
  4. Vigour Mortis (if you don't already have it)
  5. Neck Lurch
  6. Digestion
  7. Death Grip
  8. Rend Flesh
  9. Scent Fear
  10. Scent Blood
  11. Scent Trail
  12. Brain Rot
  13. Death Rattle
  14. Scent Death


Digestion

You may wonder why I suggest taking Digestion so early. The reason is simple - the rest of the skills afterwards are merely things that boost your already-fearsome combat prowess. With Neck Lurch you already have a powerful attack, and all the abilities that follow are just things that let you target or harry specific people. They aren't necessary, for the most part. But obviously, you'll want to get them. Digestion helps with that - for every Bite attack you succeed at, you get health restored to you. Considering that at around that level you'll probably feel the urge to start heading to the major siege-areas, and see if you can't turn the tide in the zombies' favour, you'll almost certainly be coming into far more contact with high-level survivors - and that means risking a Headshot. Anything to restore your health and avoid that is a good thing, at least up until the point where you top out your Scent line (Death Rattle is worthless, and Brain Rot is really just a nuisance-prevention skill more than anything else). Thus the reason for taking Digestion reasonably early. If you intend to avoid the forts, you can push it back until after the Scent lines. If you plan to head to the major battlegrounds earlier, you're sorta crazy . . . but you might want to consider moving it and Neck Lurch up to before even Lurching Gait, just to make sure the battleground takes less of a toll on you.

Neck Lurch

Get 1.2 damage per turn, averaged, which makes it a preferable option when compared with trying to get two skills (200 XP) at a lesser XP gain per round. Plus, when paired with an early taking of Digestion, you'll be alive longer and less likely to take a Headshot - a definite savings of AP in standing up and trying to regain your lost XP.

Rend Flesh

Rend Flesh makes it better to damage with claws than damage with teeth, so this is a good next skill to take. A maxed rending Claw attack does 1.5 average damage a round, making it the most powerful zombie attack in the game. The only two times to resort to Bites again once you have your Claws maxed are when injured, so you can heal up with Digestion - better to lose .3 XP a round than have to spend 10 AP to stand up again after dying, or when you have the Infection skill and want to make the survivors waste precious First-Aid Kits recovering from the infection and healing the further damage it might cause if the survivors are forced to run far away to reach shelter (that is, if they survived your attack).

Memories of Life

This allows a zombie to enter the buildings where most human players hide, and is essential in combat-prone areas.

Lurching Gait

Allowing movement at the human rate of one block per AP, this skill is a higher one for higher levels, or if the hunting is slim in your area.

Ankle Grab

Allows a zombie to Stand Up at the expenditure of 1 AP rather than 10. Can only be bought after Lurching Gait. A useful skill, as it permits a zombie to get back into action almost immediately after being killed.

Scent Skills

The Scent skills are useful for target selection (though note that the human skill Diagnosis crosses over and replicates the effects of Scent Blood exactly). Scent Death is listed separately due to different uses.

Brain Rot

Brain Rot is good if you feel strongly about never, ever playing a survivor with this character, and annoys anyone trying to perform a DNA scan. note: It is now possible to be revived if you have brain rot, but only when in a powered necrotech building.

Death Rattle

Allows for garbled speech. For example, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" gets translated into "Hrh rrh brrn rh rmrh rrrh hrh az rg," The only usable letters are a, b, g, h, m, n, r, and z. Ending Rs get changed into an "rh", single "a"s become "hra", and all other letters become an r. Numbers don't translate to anything, and punctuation is limited to the dash, comma, period, exclamation mark and question mark. A common use of Death Rattle is the phrase "harman hambargarz har har har," generally used in lieu of "brains." Despite these limits zombies have been perfecting the art of communicating with death rattle, and taking great pleasure in taunting survivors before eating them. See Guides:The Zombie Lexicon for more information.

Scent Death

Will, at the cost of 1 AP, point out the nearest members of your stated clan, the largest number of zombies in one block, and the largest number of corpses. Primarily useful for locating hordes in which to hide while regenerating AP. Note, however, that the skill can just as easily lead you into the nearest revivification area instead of a (relatively) friendly horde.

Higher Levels

Unfortunately, playing a zombie is at the moment rather linear. You don't have many choices, and all of your actions will inevitably center around trying to kill someone faster, better, or bloodier. The level-tree I suggested above will quite literally take you all the way to the point where it is no longer possible to buy any skills at all - you will have the lot of them.

Thankfully, there's always other things to keep you busy. You're a zombie, and there are humans about. Try to knock down the forts, and take them into undead hands. Smash the barricades at (in)famous survivor safehouses, and kill as many humans as you can reach. In the grand scheme of things, you're the villains in this game. The enemy. The Horde, the Swarm, the Blight . . . however you wish to put it, it's your job to hurt people and break things in large quantities. You may not recognize this, but it is actually possible for the zombies to win. The humans can't easily stem the tide of the infection, but properly-played zombies can easily accelerate it - adding continually to their ranks with more individuals who can add still more hungry mouths capable of feeding off the flesh of survivors.

Try dragging out dying survivors, for low-level zombies to kill them and level up faster, if you don't need any more XP.

You can potentially break every last safehouse, kill every last human, and claim the city as your own for one brief, shining moment. All it takes is coordination, simultaneous action, and a willingness to kill everything that still draws breath.

I'm sure you will find yourselves up to the task in time.

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