Has archery been nerfed into uselessness?

Since I last played things have changed hitting archery with a double whammy:

  • My characters movement rate decreases when stamina is spent, so something that was slower than you when you enter combat becomes gradually faster (in its displayed speed terms), which I find somewhat strange at a low stamina consumption stage.
  • Aiming now consumes a lot of stamina (my no skill character can aim a longbow to max aiming two times, and get interrupted on the third one with a warning about low stamina).

The first point means the PC can’t use superior speed to hit an enemy with multiple shots (as a single hit probably won’t kill it), resulting in a forced switch to melee after the first shot, or after the second one at best.

The second point means an excessive stamina drain where you’d be able to fire something like 10 shots per hour, spending the rest of the time huddling in a corner waiting to regain your lost stamina.

My question is whether this extreme disadvantage I encounter will be mitigated significantly with higher skill (i.e. the stamina drain per full aiming shot becomes much lower, so a character may actually use a bow to kill a several zombies before becoming a quivering pile of exhaustion), or whether it’s time to give up on bows as being a trap?

Bows currently are really dependent on your survivors knowledge of the targets weakpoints for the damage bonuses. I don’t believe archery skill affects draw exhaustion, but plenty of exercise along with leveling athletics skill should help. At the end of the day, a bow is absolutely exhausting to use, so its always going to be vulnerable to particularly tough enemies or swarms. In return, its functionally free and silent ranged kills.

The bow is hardly a trap, its just circumstantial. If your asking “Can I main it” then the answer really depends on your playstyle - you’ll need to carefully manage your engagement sizes and breaks. You can’t just treat it how you’d treat a rifle.

The beginning is tough for the archer and requires patience. I always use the kiting strategy. Found a mountainbike early on and have been riding it ever since. You just need to let go of the controls every time you want to use the bow so that’s a few key presses. When I run out of stamina, I just cycle out of view range and wait until I catch my breath and then return to combat again.

When I hit day 1 of summer I was close to peaking. I only have strength 6 which isn’t a lot. I’m using a compound hunting bow at medium tension and bodkin/broadhead arrows. My archery skill just hit 7. My bow is full of mods like a scope and dampening. I have identified the weakpoints of most of the zombies.

Now it’s not uncommon to hit a zombie with a critical shot at 137 damage. After dropping 6-8 zombies I still have half a stamina bar left. Combine that with a night-vision goggle and I can pretty much walk into most towns without issue. The challenging ones are skeletal zombies and smol ones like sproglodite and flesh-raptors. I carry about 70 arrows on me in 1 quiver and 2 quiver-pouches attached to my molle-backpack.

So yeah if you have the patience for it then you can achieve a lot. I don’t go after humans yet though. Maybe I’ll save the guns for that.

Thanks to both of you!

I use a motorcycle and snipercup’s strategy (no stamina loss due to moving the bike), but, as indicated, my stamina loss rate made me ask the question about whether it would get better, and it certainly sounds like it will.

My normal strategy has been to start with throwing rocks, progress to a staff sling, and then a bow, when a reasonable bow has been found. I’ve reserved guns for tough targets (including the feral rock throwers with perfect aim). It sounds like I can continue along that path, but it will take a fair bit of time to train archery up to a usable level at a rate of two shots and then switch to the staff sling for two zombies before the stamina has been recovered.

I can’t tell you all how gratifying it is to read summaries of archery play that sound exactly like the archery we wanted to create and laboured so hard at. Silent, deadly, hard to master and somewhat limited but quite cool and interesting if you put the effort into. And above all, not just a gun made of sticks

Re. Stamina, I’d still love to see muscle strain introduced as a different mechanic that bows use so that that, too, could become something you get better at

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While muscle strain might be possible to factor out as a separate functionality, I believe skill proficiency could be a viable way to emulate that (for this particular case) if implemented properly. I’ve still to see if that works in a reasonable way, though, as it’s a slow grind to get to the basic proficiency. I’ll get there eventually, though.


I’ve managed to grind archery up to Expert and a bit into the Master proficiency, and it does indeed become usable with a lot of effort put into it. In fact, I wouldn’t complain (too loudly) if the Expert level was slightly harder, as it seems the stamina drain is almost gone at that level, and that’s probably something better reserved for the Master level (although an even lesser impact might possibly be found there).

The only issue I have is that archery seems completely useless to players without meta knowledge.