Kiting from range.
This applies to any weapon that can strike further than tiles adjacent to you. Strike from range, sprint backwards to create distance, repeat. Make sure the area you are backing in to is clear of hostiles. Drawing enemies over rough terrain will slow them down so that you get the first, second, and maybe third attack before they can get any closer. Try to hit them without being hit, especially when dealing with larger groups. You can take a few hits, but the accumulating damage and pain from the occasional strike of a dying enemy can bring you to a slow inescapable death. If possible, try to stay at the edge of their “aggro range” and draw a few away from the main group at a time. Although you could use guns for this, I’d recommend reach weapons or “guns” with ammunition that is easily craftable or not consumed on impact/firing. Be warned that guns are loud and have limited ammo, so using them outside of emergencies can bring nearby hordes to you while you have an empty magazine.
Apparently they’re good at burning large groups. I haven’t personally used any, but AoE burning sounds nice.
- 4b. Vehicular slaughter with civilian automobiles.
Unmodified vehicles are still lethal, but fall apart quicker. Higher speed collisions have a higher chance of doing much higher damage to your vehicle, so only go as fast as needed (as the Maan said, about 24km/h).
Melee combat costs stamina and risks being caught in multiple grabs when facing groups. Ranged combat costs time to aim and stamina to run backwards to stay at range. Burning buildings are terribly noisy and draw the undead to a flaming demise, but destroys the loot of the killed, the loot of the building, and risks spreading flames to nearby structures. Vehicles can accumulate damage from contact, and large enough hordes can slow a car to a halt.
All of the above are far less dangerous if you only take on a few at a time. Fighting smaller groups in melee lowers the danger of grabs and lets you recover stamina or flee between groups. In ranged combat it lets you retrieve reusable ammo and stamina between groups. You can escape the scene of a burning building easier if there are less zombies right there to see you running away. Smaller groups are easier to run over in multiple ways, and are much easier to escape from if the vehicle breaks down.
My weapons of choice are the cudgel and chunks of steel. Spears are almost certainly safer/better than the cudgel, but the “Precise Strike” stun move paired with “Rapid Strike” means I can stunlock & kill most 1v1s without taking a hit or needing to kite. Kiting hordes around the corner of a house or down a narrow alley lets me clear entire towns. If you want to try out Throwing(skill), I’d recommend using chunks of steel. They are plentiful, fast to use, non-destructible, and seemingly infinitely stackable.