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Sky
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on: May 20, 2018, 11:51:36 AM

I never got too far in the original, the incessant radio for help and less-than-stellar port conspired to turn me off, though I really liked the game itself.

The sequel runs great at ultra settings @ 1080p, despite throwing up a warning every time I load it, about my below min spec processor. I don't think it's very CPU-heavy, anyway. Visuals are serviceable, audio is pretty decent for gameplay (I'm playing with headphones).

You start by picking two survivors with a background sketch (old buddies, lovers, etc). You can play as a solo survivor, but it's much nicer to pair up with a second survivor as a follower. You can switch between the two in the field, which is nice. Sneak into a situation with your stealth guy and then switch to the soldier just as things get thick. You can also have npcs join for quests, I've had up to two for a total of four in my party at one point.

I don't think the core gameplay has changed much from the original. Recruit followers, build a base, earn influence to spend on expansion and upgrades. I think it's randomizing a lot of the characters, plays out on three largish maps that I think are static. I've taken to mostly ignoring radio calls, but you've got to be selective because the game generates small enclave factions (think city states in Civ V) that can generate passive bonuses, trade and offer new recruits. Though if you recruit one, the others disband the group. Generally there are 3 members per enclave and you can preview their skills and traits. I found a very useful enclave that I eventually disbanded by recruiting their mechanic.

Characters have general skills (fighting, shooting, etc) and a single special skill (mechanic, doctor, etc). You need the skilled recruits to enhance your base (mechanic to make vehicle repair kits, doctor to upgrade the infirmary, etc). So you have to balance out your limited citizenry accordingly. They also have traits that affect behavior, skills and attributes (health/stam). Some like naps and run out of stam quickly, some might be athletes with a stam boost.

I believe the main new twist is the blood plague, the red-eyed zeds who can infect your survivors. Once infected, a timer starts counting down until that survivor turns. This is a pretty great mechanic. From a lore standpoint, makes it feel much more like a zombie movie with that one dude who you know got bit and it's just a matter of time. But it's also great from a gameplay standpoint, because in the tutorial you're given a doctor and soldier (I think the tutorial is the same for all starting pairs) and the doc has synthesized the cure for the blood plague. So that brings a lot of the systems together in a pretty interesting nexus: do you have enough resources to cure the plague? If so, do you save the mechanic or the gardener? Is your infirmary big enough to treat multiple patients?

I say this because I've been going through my first real crisis. Morale is low at the settlement and the leader has been picking fights with people. We ran out of meds, making people even surlier. One condition to improve morale was to remove a plague heart (a center for the plague zombies). So I decided to up morale first, then seek out meds. Since the enclave we shut down was the one that was going to help us (oops), and everyone was tired or injured, I had to take my new mechanic and our gardener (the leader's girlfriend and original survivor pair). Plague hearts get stronger with each you defeat, but the first one went down pretty quick with some pipe bombs, so I loaded up and headed out.

Welp, it went bad. Not catastrophic, but bad. It generates waves of plague zombies as it gets damaged, so as I rapidly tossed in the bombs, we got swarmed hard. I barely made it out the front window of the gas station and limped back to the SUV. To my surprise the mechanic also limped out, but he was a mess. I jumped in the truck and ran down the zombies, then hopped out, took some painkillers and got ready for another round. As you get hurt or fatigued, your max health/stam also goes down, which is pretty brutal and forces you to rotate your active crew regularly. And these two kids had both already contracted the blood plague and were hurting. I switched to the mechanic and went in to beat on the heart with melee, we get swarmed again. And again, barely limp out to the truck, run over more zeds, pop painkillers. Now we're both at death's door, out of painkillers and I'm thinking about bailing, but the gardener had yelled 'keep going, it's almost dead!' during the last round, so I went back in one more time.

Luckily, all the wave zombies die when the heart dies, so we barely survived that last round...but we're both almost dead and have about an hour (real time) until the plague turns us into zombies. And remember, we're out of meds at the base. And I've picked over all the places in town with meds. I'm now bummed because my brand new mechanic might die (and I lost his enclave's passive for him! Plus vehicles are pretty robust but need to be fixed up, as there are a fixed number of working vehicles on the map). So I head back to base and swap to two banged-up but not almost dead survivors, repair the SUV and gas it up, and head to the central town on teh map, figuring there must be a drug store or something. You can't see detail of structures on the map until you visit or survey them, so I head to a water tower and survey the town. General store and vet! Head out, luckily find two satchels of meds, head back to base.

I put the mechanic in the infirmary and start upgrading it to two beds. Now...do I heal the gardener chick, let her die, or exile her from the community? Healing her would put a strain on my meds and I just looted two town's worth of meds and am still low...maybe have her upgrade her garden to grow medicinals? But then we run into a food crisis.

It's a fun and interesting game. I've been playing the hell out of it. Got it on the MS store so I could play it on the xbox, but I'm mostly playing it on PC. Regular version releases tomorrow.

Mandella
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Reply #1 on: May 20, 2018, 12:15:18 PM

You may have just sold me on this (like I need another game right now -- sigh). I did actually like the first one and played it through to "completion" a couple of times. You just have to learn that you can't respond to every radio call -- that's just the breaks in the zombie apocalypse.

Are vehicles any less tank-like in this one? One of the first mods I used on the original game was something to bring down vehicle durability, otherwise it was just too easy to cut endless doughnuts in a field murdering the infected.
Sir T
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Reply #2 on: May 20, 2018, 01:28:02 PM

I am (by coincidence) watching a stream of this with a few guys doing co-op. It seems like a really fun co-op game.

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Sky
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Reply #3 on: May 20, 2018, 04:49:54 PM

Are vehicles any less tank-like in this one? One of the first mods I used on the original game was something to bring down vehicle durability, otherwise it was just too easy to cut endless doughnuts in a field murdering the infected.
I imagine later on with armored vehicles, maybe you could do that. Not sure how far you have to tech up to get the kits you need to upgrade them. Early on (I'm on day 5) I have to be wicked careful not to run too many down while traveling. I've had one break down and another is almost junked and has no doors. Using doors to hit zombies doesn't affect the vehicle's health but you will lose the door after a while...and then I think zombies jumping onto the side can grab a survivor inside. My only good vehicle is the one I repaired to make that trip to find meds across the map, and it took a big percentage of my resource (I forget the name, the little bolts) to make one kit.

But in a pinch, yeah. I used that fully-repaired vehicle to thin the herd when doing that 2nd plague heart, and even then it was really a close call.

Sky
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Reply #4 on: May 21, 2018, 09:12:19 AM

Aaand....I lost my mechanic. I was out trying to finish my Sheriff's mission because he keeps starting fights with people. He was exhausted with just enough stam to swing his machete once, so I was burning through .22 ammo. We almost got killed by two hordes with a screamer at a mission objective (I snuck past, but the npc with us went Leroy on them), so I decided to see what she had on her (you can trade with enclave NPCs). She had some espresso, which said it staves off exhaustion temporarily...and bam full stam bar back again! Finished it out, headed home and checked in on people...gardener had 4 minutes until turning to zed! Oops, got carried away in the field! So I have to put the doc in the infirmary to treat her and reading the text a bit closer, the beds are to slow the infection, not cure it...I quickly whip up a batch of cure and apply it to her.

Then I got a bad feeling and check the crew screen...and sure enough, ol' Seneca is not on it. RIP Seneca, we'll remember you every time our vehicles break down. Now I need to go out and get a couple new vehicles...

Much like Kingdom Death, I've got a couple survivors that are getting some skills. One stealth blade expert, one blade/shooter and another stam/blade (I need to diversify to hammers with a couple people, or build a forge for blades). So I'm sure someone is going to die soon.

Druzil
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Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 12:18:20 PM

I'm glad to hear this one is getting good reception.  I played a ton of the original and it's still one of my favorite Zombie games.  I think similar to Stardew Valley if you're the kind of person who can't handle not being able to 'do everything' this game might also stress you out in a similar way.  But I find that to be some of the fun of it - min/maxing your time along with your base and followers.

I'm waiting and picking up the $30 version tomorrow.
Ginaz
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Reply #6 on: May 21, 2018, 01:38:24 PM

Requires Windows 10. Ohhhhh, I see.  Oh, well.  Another time maybe.

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Rasix
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Reply #7 on: May 21, 2018, 03:07:13 PM

I'm right at min-spec with this. It's a good price point and even though I had a love-hate relationship with the first, I'd be tempted to pick this up. Too bad this isn't going to be coming to the PS4. It'd probably handle it a lot better than my ancient rig.

-Rasix
Sky
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Reply #8 on: May 21, 2018, 03:54:32 PM

Min spec on what vector? Like I said, I'm playing at ultra settings @ 1080p on a 7yr old i5 2500k (stock clock), 16GB RAM and a 970 (which is 4 yrs old at this point!).

Druzil, yeah. I wasn't able to find a comfortable balance in the first one, but maybe didn't try. After KD:M, the idea of characters I like perma-dying is a normal thing. It's enough to make me try to keep them alive and favor them, but lol rip Seneca. It does add a nice tenseness to close battles like the one in the original post.

Ceryse
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Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 05:46:30 PM

Requires Windows 10. Ohhhhh, I see.  Oh, well.  Another time maybe.

This, basically. I had looked forward to the game (enjoyed the original in spite of all its flaws), but when it was put out as Windows 10 original (for the Play Anywhere crap). Between that and it not being on any game service I do use (Steam, Origin or GoG, basically), as I'm sick and tired of having to add more and more of these service apps for everything.
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Reply #10 on: May 21, 2018, 06:43:49 PM

Min spec on what vector? Like I said, I'm playing at ultra settings @ 1080p on a 7yr old i5 2500k (stock clock), 16GB RAM and a 970 (which is 4 yrs old at this point!).

Druzil, yeah. I wasn't able to find a comfortable balance in the first one, but maybe didn't try. After KD:M, the idea of characters I like perma-dying is a normal thing. It's enough to make me try to keep them alive and favor them, but lol rip Seneca. It does add a nice tenseness to close battles like the one in the original post.

760 GTX, i5-4670K, 16GB

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Sky
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Reply #11 on: May 21, 2018, 07:03:12 PM

Hmm...I'm sure my GPU is the champ in my rig, so it might be rougher on that one. I'd look into it, might be some videos on YT. I mean, it is an Xbox One game, too.

As far as Win 10, it's a solid OS and we're closing in on Win 7's sunset. The app store is integrated, so it's less add-onny than Steam or whatever. I do wish the game would pull from my Steam friends for co-op!

Sky
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Reply #12 on: May 24, 2018, 09:05:03 AM

I loaded it on the xbonex and the graphics look about the same as my PC, pretty impressive. I have to look into keyboard/mouse support for it, because the controller just ain't cutting it for me.

Anyway, almost lost my doc AND the sheriff last night. Even decently developed characters can get swarmed, have a turn of bad luck (a screamer in a tough position or in this case 3 screamers with one hidden in the house), or just a bad roll of the dice on mob spawns (usually involving a jugg/feral combo). Intense stuff and nice mix of being invested in the characters at this point but also having enough churn to think 'man, I wonder if The Townsfolk have a medic' as it was going down...

Moved my base to a larger location with some spacious building spots, but it's like a sieve compared to the starter base (foothills map) and watchtowers are currently bugged (devs have said it's already fixed internally). Still, I can keep four cars in the lot and I like to have variety. I already had 4 cars: military truck (tough, cargo size, burns gas like mad) and starter SUV (nice balance, cargo size) in parking spots and a muscle car and spare SUV just parked nearby. Cars are persistent on the map, so parking spots aren't as important as I initially thought.

I've been staying away from reviews because I can see them being bad, since it's essentially a better version of the first game rather than reinventing the experience. Oddly, reviews are cool with that for AAA games that pump out iterations every year, heh. And yeah, it's a bit buggy, though very few have affected me personally. I've been playing the heck out of it for almost a week now and I've been stuck once (in a car, stuck button fixed it perfectly), CTD once. For the hours I've racked up, that's what I consider almost bug-free, really. But if you go in looking for problems, you can find them, I guess. My own experience is that it's stable, runs great on older hardware and is fun as hell.

CaptainNapkin
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Reply #13 on: May 24, 2018, 09:14:44 AM

If those on PC haven't seen it, there are some ini tweaks for this.
https://www.reddit.com/r/StateOfDecay/comments/8ke2w8/state_of_decay_2_ultimate_ini_tweak_guide_fov/

I only did the FOV fix and removed the film grain effect, they work perfect. I hate film grain effect in games.
Sky
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Reply #14 on: June 01, 2018, 11:33:52 AM

I'm still playing and enjoying this one, thought I'd share a tip for approaching the end game...basically you're working to beat the map by taking out 10 plague hearts and then completing a set of missions based on your leader's type (sheriff/warlord/builder/trader) that gives you benefits in newgame+.

Finding the last plague heart can be a bit obnoxious, I thought I was bugged after trying a bunch of tips. Turns out there was one single house in the middle of the map, surrounded by some farms and hills, that I hadn't surveyed...sure enough there it was. So if you get towards the end and can't find any more hearts to take out, do these:

1. Radio for help. Red Talon gave me a couple locations.
2. Explore, explore, explore. Red Talon won't give you locations of already spawned hearts...even if you haven't surveyed it yet. This was my 'issue'. Some houses/locations aren't show on map or revealed from survey points, if you can find the survey car (it's a google maps kinda car), that should help.
3. At least one heart is revealed as part of an enclave mission, so make sure you give them a hand with it.

I didn't really try to get to the endgame until it was around day 22 and spawns started getting pretty rough. I think I'm closing in on day 30 now and it's pretty brutal. Regular freak spawns (the special zeds, Ferals, etc) and where a single walker would spawn there are now 6+, so just non-stop hordes. Repair becomes an issue, even with maxed-out skills and characters that reduce wear on weapons. I had to switch to making rifle ammo just to keep up with things. And really, rather than becoming obnoxious, it nicely forced a bit more strategy because just pulling over to refuel the truck means a big fight, and forget slowing down to check the map. The BEST part of multiplayer is that one player can read the map while the other drives.

I've kept my community small, 6 survivors. I'm using a fairly big base, and even so it's pretty limited in what I can build, so you have to decide on your focus and style and recruit and build based on that. I kept two strike teams of two with a backup team consisting of my doctor and a rotating member I would exile when trying new recruits. A solar farm, water collector, 2 hydroponics labs (2x3 food/day), workshop, barracks (6 beds) and a watch tower (which is currently broken, but my doc wanted one and it does reduce the overall zombie threat to the base slightly). My outposts are 2x ammo, 2x meds, gas and espresso (I got a lucky loot of the mod that can add +2 outposts vs the normal +1 mod you find more easily...I've since seen it on a vendor so check those traders because it's WORTH IT).

On my newgame+ (assuming we survive the leader missions), I think I'll hold off on the DLC weapons. They're really nice and it kinda took the wind out of looking for anything better (as DLC stuff often does). I may need to snag them if I get back into day 20+ without finding good stuff, but I like having to scavenge harder and smarter. The DLC vehicles are mixed - the car is awesome the truck is just a nice truck. I mostly used the military truck (sturdy, decent mpg/capacity, 6 slots in trunk) for most of the game.

Sky
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Reply #15 on: June 01, 2018, 05:39:44 PM

Patch 1.2 Highlighted Changes
The 1.2 patch features significant improvements related to:
Increased stability
Improved networking interactions for clients
Improved networked vehicle interactions
Elimination of Out Of Memory crashes
Patch 1.2 Highlights
Gameplay
Grenades no longer get stuck and explode in front of client character’s face or behind their head while throwing
Fixed instances of clients dealing damage to their host’s non-active community members with explosives
Flashlight beams no longer cast shadows from the player’s character model (which had caused flickering shadows)
Characters no longer “self-shadow” when using a flashlight in multiplayer
Fixed issue with doors appearing the opposite of the state they are in
Resolved situation where, when getting into vehicles, the camera could become detached from the player’s character
Fixed issue where, when clients swap weapons while in vehicles, the weapons do not swap upon exit from vehicle
Fixed rare bug that could prevent Warlord legacy arc from being completed
Fixed rare bug that could block Sheriff legacy arc from starting
Fixed issue where player’s loot sometimes becomes invisible until their entire backpack is deposited into a Supply Locker
 

Networking and Multiplayer
Numerous networking bandwidth and CPU improvements
Game now exits to main menu faster when a client loses their internet connection, so players will no longer hang after dismissing the pop-up
Improved network vehicle interactions in multiplayer games to address weird “rubber-banding” and physics issues (including cars flying into the air).
Host facilities no longer appear invisible to clients during multiplayer
 

Zombie and Character Behavior
Zombies no longer become immune to the Assault Kick
Reduction of step height to prevent survivors popping up onto props while moving
 

HUD
Fixed issue with player HUD disappearing after NPCs are executed by zombies
Community advice list no longer shows up under vignette on the map
 

Environment and Collision
Fixed numerous collision spots across all 3 maps where players or vehicles were getting stuck
Fixed numerous collision spots across all 3 maps where players were getting stuck in an infinite freefall animation loop
Elimination of white line that appears when driving at night time
Addressed a variety of spots in world where player was not able to climb over props they should’ve been able to
Additional polish and reduction of LOD popping
Additional lighting tuning passes, reduction in glowing props
 

Other Fixes
Addressed a variety of general crash bugs
Updated a number of strings that were previously hardcoded in English
Audio mix optimizations

edited to add commentary: this should address every bug I've encountered thus far, which is pretty impressive...
« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 05:42:10 PM by Sky »

Bunk
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Reply #16 on: June 05, 2018, 03:15:52 PM


Fixed numerous collision spots across all 3 maps where players or vehicles were getting stuck


Lol, I think I'm now up to three vehicles lost mid supply run to getting stuck in a ditch or pond (or sideways between two trees in one case).

Its kind of crazy how addictive this silly game is.

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Sky
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Reply #17 on: June 05, 2018, 03:28:01 PM

Only one I've come closed to getting stuck is the upgraded military truck, Big Boss, because it's long due to cab/bed plus plow. I'd guess the pickup that starts with a plow is also difficult.

Toward the end of my sheriff run I was almost entirely using the little hatchback. Fast, good handling and adequate trunk space. Big Boss for zed mowing missions and the utility van for scavenging trips. I also collect cars around the base to store satchels that won't fit in base storage.

On day 3 of my second playthrough, they put me on the same map and I'm not even mad. I was just learning all the cool shortcuts and some of the unmarked stuff. So many cool little spots and routes.

Druzil
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Reply #18 on: June 05, 2018, 03:35:46 PM

Lol, I think I'm now up to three vehicles lost mid supply run to getting stuck in a ditch or pond (or sideways between two trees in one case).

Its kind of crazy how addictive this silly game is.

I rolled one up sideways onto a guard rail quite far from my base loaded with rucksacks.   I spent a good 10 minutes getting it back on 4 wheels and off the damn guard rail.  I didn't think it was going to happen but I finally "physics'd it" off somehow.  Was just waiting for a juggernaut to show up.

One main difference that's throwing me a bit is that the first game it didn't much matter who your citizens were.  In this one it really limits your base if you don't have the right skills and a few of my citizens seemingly came fully loaded with skills so they cant learn the ones I need.   I think I'm going to have to be ruthless and start a recruit + kick cycle  since I don't think you can see an NPCs skills until they're recruited.  I need to spend more time in the menus to figure it all out.
Bunk
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Reply #19 on: June 05, 2018, 03:53:53 PM

You can see their main raise-able skills, but not their traits.

I'm at the point in the game now where I seriously need to move to a bigger base. I'm concerned though about effectively starting from scratch. Do new bases start with any materials in storage? I assume changing bases disbands the old one?

"Welcome to the internet, pussy." - VDL
"I have retard strength." - Schild
Sky
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Reply #20 on: June 05, 2018, 04:37:21 PM

You get everything moved over to the new base, not sure if it refunds previously built stuff, but I believe there is some. I moved to the new base and immediately started building, so I think so.

I liked Mohr and Mohr on the foothills map, it's a template I've seen in at least one or two other bases. Mostly for the two outdoor spots. Even though it's not central like the Lowl base, using shortcuts it's still pretty quick to get to 2/3rds of the map. This run I'm going to try the container fort because it looks super awesome. I didn't want to move last run because I explored it after being fully built up at Mohr & Mohr to be optimized for 6 survivors (and container fort is minimum 8).

And yes, being heartless and exiling folks when you need to find a certain skillset is a thing. And then you find a mechanic and he's sickly or noisy or something and has to go as soon as you find one who isn't a liability...

Sky
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Reply #21 on: June 06, 2018, 08:03:34 AM

One thing I love about the game is that you can be fully maxed out on skills, have the OP DLC weapons, and still have a harrowing experience early on. I'm still on day 3 or 4 of my 1st newgame+ and had a really interesting session last night. I was just going to run a couple quick missions and go to bed....

Donovan, the soldier from the tutorial (who I brought forward, along with the medic Min), drew the 'kill your first plague heart' mission. Remembering the first one was easy, I grabbed my one pipe bomb and a stack of 7.62 ammo and headed out. I started the two nearby enclave missions on the way, the first one just to keep it from timing out and pissing off the neighbors, but the second one gave me another dude to help out with the plague heart (unbeknownst to him). Donovan was my top fighter from the 1st map, and he brought Juan, his usual teammate. So I had my a-team firepower, loaded for bear.

We help a random call for help, then run across the street and take out the plague heart. For some reason Donnie got hit with a bloater gas-like effect from the heart (1st time that happened), so some fatigue and injury, not too bad. We helped the enclave dude get his still parts and got a call from an enclave in Lowl (I was still mostly doing missions near spawn). So I drove the survey car out to get the benefit of driving into virgin territory, started that sheriff mission (recover stolen meds). I decide to talk to the bandits, knowing it would be a shootout either way...the enclave dude is killed almost immediately but I easily headshot the bandits with my AK.

Start to drive back and that's when things started going bad. Two hordes were converging on a corner, plus the spawn of a plague heart there...the survey car can't take much punishment, so I swerve around it...into a lightpole. BOOM car flips and explodes in flame, Juan bails, but it's still driveable. So I drive it over to the nearby house (where the mission ends), Juan doesn't follow. I get out and the car explodes (destroyed). I run back over and he's running back to the horde. I follow to help him out (save his ass) and after we manage to take out the horde, he runs off for home because at this point we're both barely able to walk from fatigue. And I'm almost out of ammo and my sword is almost broken. And now I'm alone, hurt, tired, and out of meds.

I knock back a cup of coffee and head back over to finish the mission. She offers to join my community, has great health and stam, so I accept...but she won't enlist as a follower...so I'm still alone, halfway across the map with no car and no vehicles on survey nearby. I decide to run over to the water tower above Lowl and look for cars, and a Juggy is now on the street. So I creep slowly around him and a couple hordes, taking out singles with the stealth attack to preserve my damaged sword and low ammo... Finally make it to the tower and see a few vehicles...all out of gas. So I have to slowly make my way back to the mission house to retrieve a can of gas from my destroyed survey car and....the coffee wears off and my stam drops to zero. I somehow make it out of town to the house with the other car (breaking my sword in the process), fill it up and head home.

TLDR A routine quick mission run ended up becoming an epic journey to keep Donovan alive. It was a lot of fun!

Druzil
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Reply #22 on: June 06, 2018, 12:14:52 PM

The cloud on the plague hearts has happened to me as well.   I was taking one out and both my melee and gun went red so I was attacking it with the knife (takes a ton of hits, but it works!).  At some point it belched some of the green stuff out as it was spawning another wave of zombies and got me pretty good.  I think that was the closest I've been to having someone die.  He rolled back into base with 2 traumas, no weapons, no meds and a full car of rucksacks.

I have not tried coffee yet, most of my fighters have some level of Marathon though.  I've been saving up influence to try to get power to my new base.
Sky
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Reply #23 on: June 06, 2018, 02:08:36 PM

Tough call. I used power and water outposts, but then needed 3 outposts to break even on fuel. So if you only have the +1 outpost mod, you're full there. In the first map, I ended up going with solar + rain collector. Just had to top off the rain collector once a day. I had a built-in gen that I used prior to getting the power outpost, in hindsight I could've just topped it off with fuel when I did the water daily and saved myself the large outdoor slot I used for solar.

Anyway, having rain collection and solar meant I was able to get ammo and fuel outposts, as well as espresso and I think meds. When I got over day 20 I started burning a lot more ammo. Materials also got a bit short with all the repairs for weapons.

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