Are bows any good?

Hi, all. Returned to the game after a year+ pause, checking out things. So far seems like a lot of cool stuff was implemented.
The question I have is: are bows still viable? I remember them being very strong(at least, they took care of most things I opposed), but now I’m looking at the bow/arrow damage and I’m not sure if I’m missing something. Like, my homemade pike is listed as having 24 piercing damage, while a longbow is like 6, while arrows just modify it by a percentage. Are there some other modifiers to the bow damage or is it just that bows are now weak?

The nerfed bows as they where too good. Something like halving the damage but setting the crit multipliyer too 5. This mend too be a temperary solution untill a rework can be done.

Before the “nerf”, the bows were stupid overpowered: with a high-end bow you could destroy kevlar hulks and literal tanks. Fundamentally, the problem wasn’t even the raw damage, but the fact that with enough raw damage you could just overpower any armor.

The new system works differently: you have low base damage, but very high crit modifier. Now high-end bows can absolutely demolish target with low armor (100+ damage per shot), kind-of work against light/medium armor, but are completely useless against heavily armored targets. (And low-end bows are just for training, fundamentally.)

Interesting. Will keep that in mind, thanks

I used a bow as the main weapon in 0.E2 stable, and it worked against most things (slowly against some of them, and not at all if they regenerated quickly).

0.F stable, in contrast, has nerfed them very significantly:

  • You can’t attach mods to any craftable bows (apart from the ones for super humans), except for the dampening one. That’s actually a major issue, as bows have poor precision, and thus badly need the dispersion reductions the mods provide. If you manage to get hold of a decent manufactured bow and equip it with a full set of mods you can actually manage to hit zombie children and take them out with a bit of back pedaling (actually, you usually have to back pedal against all viable enemies unless you score a critical).
  • They do nothing against anything with more than a just little armor. You can whittle away a cop with 5 damage per hit, but against a standard cockroach 90% glance off and the remaining ones do 1-2 points of damage (and you have a lousy chance actually hitting them).

Thus, bows work against low end targets basically without armor. Bodkin arrows are supposed to have better armor penetration than broadhead, but I haven’t seen any difference at all against targets with a little armor, apart from perhaps less damage.

The critical multiplier is displayed as 10, and yes, critical hits against unarmored targets can give impressive results (I’ve never seen triple digits, but above 80).
Apart from the critical, bows seem to cause marginally less damage than staff slings against unarmored targets, with a shorter maximum range, but without the very heavy ammunition (i.e. rocks).
Thus, consider it as a way to cull some of the weaker opponents and saving on ammunition on open ground. Obviously, that’s extremely helpful early on, assuming you can find a bow, as being essentially without armor in melee is very risky.

Define "weaker’.
Composite bow (auto-learned, can be crafted from sticks and bones in the forest) with makeshift arrows can 1-2 shot zombie predators. Usually well before they can actually harm you, due to how aiming works.
If you build for bow usage (high strength, high mobility), very few zombies are actually a threat — fast ones usually die to the composite bow just fine, well-armored ones are too slow to be an issue to begin with. Practically the only humanoid zombie I can think of that would be a real threat would be zombie hulk.

sorry, it’s quite a bit off topic, but can anyone tell me how to scroll this part down? It’s driving me insane >.<

As far as I remember ] and [

Press ? for context relevant keybindings.

“Weaker” is basically anything without armor and without regeneration, although I’d expect to run out of arrows against a whale wasp (assuming they’re not armored like roaches: I haven’t tried arrows against wasp in 0.F stable).

It doesn’t match my experience with 0.F stable, but is fairly close to 0.E2 stable. A kevlar zombie could be dealt with by alternating firing and running, and it would be dead before my character’s stamina was, snappers were usually dead before they reached me.

My character is maximum STR (14), high DEX (12), high PER (11) so there’s nothing lacking in that department. I’ve used longbow, composite bow, and modern recurve, with the last one being significantly easier to hit children and dogs due to its ability to equip mods.

With a longbow I can get about 4 shots at an enemy with maximum aim (which is what I used almost always), while the others give 2-3. A hit typically scores 10-30, but may grace for just a few point (or glance off even unarmored targets). There’s a critical once every 10 enemies or so, but that’s just a bonus, rather than a regular phenomenon you can rely on. I tend to need about 4 hits to take out normal type zombies, which sometimes may climb up to double that due to grazing hits.

Any zombie that’s fast (dogs, runners, snapper jaws, batwing,…) will be on you after two shots (maybe 3 with a longbow).

I can take out anything that isn’t armored and and isn’t regenerating given time, enough space, and a motorcycle, so a brute is brought down eventually, although it requires a dozen or so hits (you can probably reduce the number a little bit of you waste time waiting for each hit to stop bleeding, but that both boring and risky, due to heat stroke).

I’ve tried zombie soldiers, and none of the dozen or so hits caused any damage at all (including hits that were described as “good hit”).

Avoiding well-armored enemies is fine on an open field, but if you’ve got to deal with a group of soldiers to get at what they were guarding, avoiding them would be extremely tedious (I guess you’d lead them away somewhere else, and then hope they won’t drift around to block you when you’re leaving the facility).

I haven’t changed zombie properties from the default in either versions, although I’ve reduced their numbers in 0.F stable because of the silly numbers encountered (open a barn gate and they stand three layers deep, go down into an infested basement and the population of the whole block is down there, etc.).

It is still silent, it still has good range, it still may be made trom scrap (as well as ammo) and you still can salvage used arrows for several shots
Also, it is still good to take out regular zombies, but you can’t overrun the whole world map in the Eagle Eye style anymore

Later today, I’ll make a fresh character on the latest experimental, debug in a composite bow and some arrows and test it’s performance directly. Then post a video here.
Feel free to give me a list of zombies you want to see the bow tested against.

It seems so far that the bow is not sufficient by itself. I’ve had success with soldiers using a spear, so a proper samurai style (bow and spear) is still alive and well. Shoot chaff with the bow and stab anything sturdy with a sharp stick.

Very much intended, too. A single ranged makeshift weapon (silent and with effectively infinite ammunition) being “sufficient by itself” would be questionable game design at best.

I don’t disagree with this design, just summing up the thread. I do agree that bows were very powerful and they kinda made guns feel redundant. Like, why would I use a loud, heavy stick, that uses hard to find ammo, when I can just craft arrows by a truckload and snipe everything silently.
Have to admit that the new container system facilitates a multi-weapon approach quite well, as now you can shoot stuff while encumbered and when something starts getting too close, you can dump a backpack and a bow and get to stabbing pretty fast. Although, I have to note that dropping a backpack takes some time, which is not great, if you get caught off-guard. Would be nice to have a backpack (maybe an advanced version), that can be dropped faster (like, I dunno, it’s got straps with clips and it only requires you to press two buttons to drop).

Well, you can’t “snipe” enemies with bows, apart from the listener zombie, but everything else will see you well before they’re in bow range (apart from at night with NV or IR goggles, when only some if them will detect you first).

My main problem with the current bows is that they don’t work against lightly armored opponents. I would have expected them to do reduced damage against things like cockroaches and soldiers (who, according to what they drop, actually should have no armor at all on their limbs, just clothing, but I think the game uses a single armor rating throughout for monsters), and that bodkin arrows would be useful for that purpose.
Kevlar: no deal, neither dog nor zombie.

I didn’t mean literally sniping, it was more of a nod to the fact that you won’t alert an entire block, when you shoot a bow, so you can take out light zombies by kiting and then fight armored targets in glorious melee

As I promised, some in-game tests:
` Twitch

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Hm, I certainly saw you used some aiming techniques I didn’t know, which certainly are improving the results rather significantly.

You’re delaying the firing until the last moment, which I didn’t know you could do, and I would guess you used ‘.’ to do that. Which firing mode are you using when finally firing? The immediate one is the only one I’ve found to work when they actually start to attack, as I seem to get locked into eternal aiming if trying to aim at enemies with any other mode. Also, you’d want to actually be away from your tile before they have time to actually attack.

I’ve simply used fire with maximum ‘p’ aim as soon as the enemy is in range, repeat for as long as I think they won’t get close enough to attack, then run and repeat (but only for a single attack, not from maximum range again).

It looks like I’m going to try for a hybrid approach where I still fire a few maximum aim arrows as they approach before finishing with a point blank shot, then switching over to run/point blank. The aiming until point blank technique reduces the risk of misjudging how far the enemy would move while aiming, especially for jumping ones.

Thanks for the instruction.

How does dex affect the bows, btw?