Free Running is a military skill that enables survivors to travel between buildings without stepping outdoors. This allows survivors to bypass significant obstacles such as hordes or barricades, which would otherwise be dangerous or impossible to overcome. Because of the usefulness of this ability, it is often recommended that players who plan on spending time as a survivor purchase this skill first with the XP they earn in the first few levels. Free Running is a passive skill; survivors automatically use it to while traversing between immediately adjacent buildings. Whereas zombies and survivors without Free Running, will simply be put back outside on the street when moving to an adjacent building.
Players who choose the scout class automatically start the game with Free Running. Like all military skills, Free Running costs 75xp for military characters, 100xp for civilians, and 150xp for scientists. Zombies may buy the skill for 100xp if revived, but can only use it while alive.
Several in-game mechanics revolve around or are based on the use of Free Running. These include:
Currently, Free Running is the only way to enter a building that has been barricaded to "Heavily Barricaded" or higher. This enables survivors to create free running lanes and Entry Points.
- In the former tactic, survivors maintain a route of connected Extremely Heavily Barricaded buildings to enable safe travel and/or rest periods within a region.
- In the latter, certain buildings are kept at Very Strongly Barricaded, allowing entry to free running lanes and access to high profile targets such as Necrotech Buildings or malls.
In order to facilitate these strategies, survivors in an area commonly institute and maintain Barricade Plans.
A notable exception to Free Running exists in ruined buildings. Survivors who attempt to Free Run into a ruined building will receive this message:
You find your route blocked by a collapsed wall, and are forced to street level.
The player is then forced to the street outside the ruined building they were moving to. In addition, there is a <X>% chance the survivor will receive 5HP in "fall damage," in which case the message is displayed:
You lose your footing on the ruined building, and fall to the street below, injuring yourself.
Survivors cannot be killed by fall damage; any fall that would deal fatal damage will leave the survivor at 1HP instead.
Forts possess special movement rules that override Free Running, whereas other large buildings like malls, mansions, stadiums and cathedrals do not require Free Running to move about their sections while remaining inside.