User:Shades of Grey

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I've been playing UD since late November. My forum and wiki users share the name of my most recent human character, ShadesOfGrey. I play two other human characters, a NT scientist and a private. The private reached level 13 in under four weeks; being a private is easy. I tried playing a zombie, but it wasn't much fun having to stand up each day with so few AP.


I try to contribute to the Search Odds page when I can. I created the character SearchData to sit around in various buildings and search. If there is a particular building you would like some data for, let me know here.


To all those who support the headshot skill I have to ask, "why?"

I see many justifications advanced in defense of headshot. Most center around giving zombies a reason to fear death. Standing up is too easy. There must be consequences for dying. But I want to know what precisely is the reason these consequences are necessary?

If there are no consequences for a zombie dying, will survivors become extinct or at least badly gimped? No.
If there are no consequences, will zombies take over all the malls and NT buildings? No.
And, if there are no consequences, will I have less fun as a human?

This last question is the most interesting one. The answer, amazingly, appears to be yes for a number of people. This astounds me. As a player with three survivor characters, I have to say that the game is mostly fun. It's plenty fun to find a group of zombies and blast away with my shotgun. I don't see how it makes the game even slightly more fun if, after I leave, those zombies are crippled for AP.

In fact, I'd rather let them have all the AP possible so that they chase me back and continue the fight. Since my military character gained Free Running, I've not been so much as scratched by a zombie. And I hang out in malls and police stations on the edge of Riddleybank. Clearly, human players can't claim their way of life is threatened by the possibility of a zombie with full AP. So, what is left? Having fun.

And, personally, I could never find it fun to know that the dead zombie I'm walking away from will have a shorter day the next time he wakes up.

Consequences be damned. Let the undead rise and fight. I'm ready for them.

-Shades of Grey, Dec 26, 2005

Action Point Calculations

AP for Ammunition Accumulation

Based on statistics in the Search Odds page, it appears that a player with Shopping and Bargain Hunting will find an item in the gun store one third of the time. When an item is found, the distribution is as follows.

Item Rate
Pistol Clip 1/3
Shotgun Shell 1/3
Pistol 1/6
Shotgun 1/6

In 18 searches the expectation is two of each kind of ammunition, one of each weapon, and 12 failed searches. Each of the pistol clips yield 6 rounds, while the shotgun shell is a single round. Each found weapon may already contain ammo. It appears that all legal values for the weapon's content are equally likely. Thus, pistols come with 0-6 rounds—averaging 3 rounds. Shotguns may have 0-2 rounds—averaging at 1. Thus, in 18 searches, we expect to find 15 rounds of pistol ammo and 3 rounds of shotgun ammo. Conveniently, you may think of this as averaging out to a round per search, with a 5:1 pistol to shotgun round ratio. So if you spend 30 AP searching the gun store, you will, on average, acquire 25 rounds of pistol ammo and 5 shotgun rounds.

However, the ammo you find is not usable until it is loaded in a weapon. So, we must also include the AP spent on reloading. For simplicity, we will assume that previous battles have left enough empty weapons to hold the new ammo. In the average 18 searches, you find two pistol clips and two shells that must be loaded before use. Since the same search yields an average of one already loaded shotgun round, two-thirds of all shotgun rounds require an extra AP to use. While 12 out of 15 pistol rounds will also need to be loaded, they are loaded six at a time—adding an average of only 0.13 AP expense per round for loading pistols. In total, you will need to spend 2 AP reloading ammo for every 9 AP spent searching (or 1:4.5). Therefore, if you want 30 rounds of ammo (25 pistol, 5 shotgun) you can expect to spend 30 AP searching and 6.67 AP reloading—a total of 37 AP. In cases where your expected AP is not a whole number, always round up for a realistic value. If you are looking for only shotgun ammo or only pistol ammo, you can cut the total AP for reloading in half since shells and clips turn up at the same rate.

As a quick summary, if you are looking only for shotgun shells you will need to expend 6.67 (20/3) AP per round. If you are looking for only pistols (discarding all shotguns and shells) you will spend 1.33 (4/3) AP per round. If you use any ammo you find, you will spend 1.22 AP (11/9) per round to find and load the ammo; and you will end up with 5:1 ratio of pistol rounds to shotgun rounds.

XP Rate for Killing Zombies

This is an estimation for the rate at which XP can be accumulated by a character with all firearm and shopping skills. In practice, this this method would also require Free Running since nearly all malls are barricaded beyond Very Strongly. This requires that the character reach at least level 8. This can be done most efficiently with a military character starting as a private. The necessary skills can be obtained for a total of 525 XP (5 military for 75 XP, 2 civilian for 100 XP, and starting out with Basic Firearms Training). For this estimation I use my own routine as an example. It is the complete hunting cycle: search, kill, return, restock.

Starting and ending conditions are:

  • Fully loaded with ammo
  • Located in a safe building near target area
  • At 50 AP
Day 1

I need to find a group of at least 3 zombies. Generally, I spot a party within the first 2 or 3 moves if I left myself in the right area. I've used as few as 3 moves in a day (building next to mine was breached, then moved two buildings away for safety) and rarely need more than 10 moves in total. But an average of 8 total moves from the safehouse and back is reasonable.

This leaves me with an average of 42 AP for firing, and I generally use every one. At malls, searching for ammo yields five rounds of pistol for every round of shotgun (see previous section). Assuming I use it up in the same ratio, my 42 AP gives me 35 rounds of pistol and 7 rounds of trusty buckshot. I can easily carry the weapons for all these, so no reloading is necessary.

With a 0.65 accuracy for both weapons I am dealing 6.5 points of damage per shotgun round and 3.25 per pistol round. Then, (3.25 * 35) + (6.5 * 7) = 159.25 damage in a one-day excursion—enough to take out 3 full-health zombies. If every zombie I fight has a flak jacket, this amount is reduced to 127.4—enough to take out two full-health zombies with flak jackets and bodybuilding. In the first case, I get 189 XP (159 damage, 3 kill bonuses). In the second case, I get 147 XP (127 damage, 2 kills). The yield will be somewhere between 150 and 180, tending toward the middle. My observation is that less than 1/4 of zombies have bodybuilding and about half have flak jackets (at least in areas I frequent). Also, the first zombie I fight is often wounded, making the three kill bonuses pretty easy. On average, I'd say 165 for a full day of fighting is a reasonable estimate.

Day 2

The second day starts with several AP being spent reloading. Let's estimate it as 4 AP for pistol clips and 5 for shotgun shells. This gives me another 29 rounds worth of ammo, and 31 AP in which to use it (after 8 AP for moving). In those 29 rounds (110 damage, 88 with FJ), I can kill two regular zombies or 1.5 with bodybuilding and a flak jacket. Thus, this is a minimum of 98 XP and about 130 for zombies without bodybuilding and FJs. Let's average it at 115. If I have a couple extra AP I start off toward the nearest mall.

Days 3 and 4

I travel the rest of the way to a mall (on average, probably 6-8 moves away unless there is fighting outside the mall I used for restocking). Recouping all the ammo I spent takes an average of 72 searches (previous section). It will also require an average of 8 AP reloading shotguns and 8 for putting new clips in empty pistols. This leaves me fully reloaded and in the mall 94-96 AP after I finished hunting. A few moves to a new safehouse and the cycle starts again.

Thus, in about four days (200 AP) I can gather 280 XP and leave myself ready for another round. This works out to 1.4 XP / AP, which is slightly better than healing people and more fun.

XP Rate for Healing

One of the simplest ways to earn XP is to heal people. This can most efficiently be done with the Diagnosis, Shopping, and Bargain Hunting skills. At a very minimum this requires a character of level 4 or higher. The simplest means of creating this character is to start as a Scientist since Diagnosis will be cheaper. However, I advise against using the Doctor class. Doctors start with the First Aid skill heals 10 hit points instead of 5 while providing the same number of XP. This heals people faster, giving you fewer opportunities for healing.

There are certain malls which seem to contain woulded humans most of the time. Most of these malls are located near Ridleybank. Even if there are periods when no wounded people are present, AP is not lost since you can store up first aid kits (max 50). Each first-aid kit used on a wounded player rewards you with 5 XP. If you have Bargain Hunting, you will find a first-aid kit in 1/3 of your drug store searches. Assuming that AP are never lost for lack of wounded people, you could average 5 XP for every 4 AP spent (3 AP searching, 1 AP healing). This is 1.25 XP per AP spent. Without Bargain Hunting (only Shopping), the rate drops to 0.83 XP per AP.

XP Rate for DNA Extraction

It is harder to calculate the XP accumulation rate for DNA extraction, but it appears to be high. Most importantly, this is an XP gathering method which is accessible to entry-level humans. A newly-created NecroTech Lab Assistant has all the essential tools for this technique. However, it can be unsafe to use this method without the Free Running skill. This will, of course, cost 150 XP for a scientist to purchase.

The basic strategy is to make a home near an area of high zombie activity, like Ridleybank. Wait until the character has the full 50 AP. Then, strike out into zombie territory, moving in a zig-zag to maximize visibility. For each successful extraction, 4 XP is earned. The yield is greatest when extracting from a large group of zombies. A single zombie has usually been tagged recently. Large groups have more new zombies. In groups of 100+ zombies I have made 20 successful DNA extractions. Usually, DNA extraction requires that most of the AP is spent on moving. The difficult part is leaving enough AP to avoid being stranded in the open. It is very important to keep track of the distance to known safehouses in order to reach them.

Exact numbers are difficult to estimate. Some days I find a large group of zombies right beside my safehouse. Other days I wander without finding a group larger than 5. Groups of 20 or more can are consistently found inside Ridleybank, but safehouses close to Ridleybank are less common. A rough guess is that I use 30 of my action points moving. Success rates also vary significantly. A big group will almost always provide a few successes before an error. A lone zombie will usually fail DNA extraction. But, let's guess that half of the attempts succeed. This gives us 10 successes in 50 AP, which averages to 0.8 XP per AP spent.

But let's speculate that you could consistently find a huge group of zombies within 8 moves of your starting position and another very large horde within 4 more moves. Ten more moves to a safe house, leaves 28 tagging attempts. Let's say that the success rate in the huge groups (60+) is 75% for the first 15 zombies. This is not unreasonable since the recently tagged zombies will be sampled last. That would give you 21 successful extractions for a total of 84 XP. That would work out to nearly 1.7 XP per AP. If this is consistently feasible, it would be the fastest source of XP in the game. Clearly, it would require the right circumstances. But I have passed up this amount multiple times. My record is 120 XP in a single run—and I had to spend 17 AP travelling.

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