How useful are bows?

Hello Guys.

Just curious if anyone ever uses bows? Yes, they are silent, but it takes many shots to kill a zombie, … and even in the dark, the are gonna get you long before you can kill them… and if there are more than one, forget about it

Any suggestion would be appreciated.

What kind of bow are you using sweetie? Get high archery is the only thing I can think of. And take high strength.


Which is why few people use them as far as I’m aware.

Early game archery is fairly terrible. However, once you get a longbow, you’ll start killing basic zeds in 2-3 shots. Moving up from there, a reflex recurve bow and metal broadhead arrows will one-shot basic zeds and kill most other zombies in 2-3 shots.

This may be why lots of people don’t take this path. I know it was for me. The moment I found a shotgun and shells I burned my bow to cook a steak and vowed to never use one again.

I presume the skeletal juggernaut is one of the exceptions? Those damn things are common enough to necessitate traveling heavily armed unless you have vehicle support. Even the Barrett .50 usually takes 2-3 shots to put them down. I suspect you might not want to fight a zombie hulk with a bow either, as those things can get in your face surprisingly fast.

Bodkin arrows are able to pierce their armor, though it is still a good idea to bring an armor penetrating weapon for them. The reason early game archery is hard to use is because the character is likely stuck with crafting low quality bows that are thought of from intuition rather than books. When you get Bowyer’s Buddy, you can get the recurve bow quite early, which deals with zombies quite well. Once you get Fletcher’s friend, you can create the metal arrows, too. Broadhead arrows are good for unarmored targets, bodkin arrows are good for armored targets, and once you get an extremely powerful bow, target arrows become more useful due to the increased range and frequency of critical hits thanks to their accuracy.

Also, there seem to be two kinds of bows, the faster ones with low damage, and the slower ones with high damage. You might be taking more shots to kill zombies because you are using the faster bows, which are probably better to use against enemies that have guns, since you can shoot first. The slower bows often deal more damage.

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Archery is garbage as a non-book skill. You get like 0-1% at even low levels. To top it off, at least before, you couldn’t make ARROWHEADS without books. It’s not that hard to get books if you know what you’re doing, but compared to making armor and meleeing at mid-game game, it’s trash. Maybe it’s useful for raising the aiming skill or whatever they call it now, without burning ammunition, but if you try to spec archery you’ll run into a huge problem: your dodge and melee won’t be anywhere near enough if there’s a few guys. A lot of things were rebalanced over the years, so maybe it’s better, but the #1 cause of death easily was pain, back when it used to slow and ruin your stats. One hit -> 2 hits ->30 hits ded.

I use a longbow in early game. I also use a lot of traps. Generally i kite the mobs around making them fall in deep pits, run over nail boards, etc. Its a bit tedious but once you get the hang of it, it isnt bad.

It would be more fun if i had access to the books and more arrow types… like an EMP arrow or a greekfire arrow. Im sure they exist i just havent found any books yet.

It is my understanding that in real life arrows with incendiaries or other things build into them don’t tend to fly well. They are heavier and unbalanced. You can’t just set the arrow itself on fire; without some kind of sticky flammable substance the flame tends to go out in flight. And by the time you attach enough explosives to do any real good, the arrow would likely be too heavy to work very well.

So while you can have incendiary arrows, the price you pay is that it is front heavy and as a result less accurate & shorter range. It is also important to note that an arrow being on fire isn’t going to be as damaging to a creature as it would be to a straw hut or something. Animals just aren’t that flammable, and you aren’t going to be able to put enough combustible substance on the arrow to completely engulf them in flames. Its going to hurt like hell, and eventually maybe set their clothing on fire, but its going to take some time to spread and stop them. They aren’t going to burst into flame like being hit by a flamethrower.

Anything other than a burning tar covered arrow probably would be too heavy to be any more effective than simply using a homemade grenade or molotov cocktail. Also, good luck miniaturizing an EMP pulse generator and its power supply to fit on one.

What I like to do is have a bow for taking out nub zambies so I don’t have to waste the good stuff. With the occasion acception to train up dodge.
For tougher enemies, I just throw grenades.
I once made a custom character that was OP against most enemies with his bow. I head shotted a zombie hulk to death from my 99% chance of a headshot.

TL:DR Bows are real nice once you have enough skill and a good enough bow. (Unless they were made worse at some point)

They are situational and require a hefty time commitment but once you get a decent skill level and a good bow they can be nice. I’ve been doing a no guns playthrough and I switched from crossbow to bow as soon as I could craft a half decent one, you can one/two shot most stuff with the best bows and exploding arrows are craftable for some decently hard hitting shots. This was with 6 in archery and marksmanship:

I think I once heard of some sort of way to fix the weight issue. I can’t remember what it was though.
I think it had something to do with a specially modified bow and odd arrows.
In terms of fire arrows, I think there was a person who basically had a small canister on the hid of something sticky and flammable (It might by tar, I’m not sure) and also had a lighter close at hand.
He’d open the canister, dip the tip in, then used some sort of simple mechanism on his hand to start the lighter.
If only I could find the links to those! I could have sworn I saw those as videos once.

That’s exactly what I mean!
The custom character I made had naturally lower health by 50% I think, but also started with 10 in bows and a decent amount in marksmanship. He also started with a bow, if I recall correctly.

I hope my survivor survives long enough to see what 10 archery can do, should be pretty epic.

That seems like a lot of trouble to go through just to start a fire. Beer bottle filled with gasoline and a rag is way easier. Or a super soaker filled with gasoline with a lighter duct taped to it (though I’m not sure what gasoline would do to the interior seals and plastics, it MIGHT be okay, or the gasoline might melt through them).

Fire arrows that work well enough to be effective in combat are a movie myth anyways.

I have a knife spear for indoors/night, and I have a bow for daytime/outdoors. I also like hunting animals with field point arrows. I particularly like to ride around on a motorcycle firing my bow, because while I understand that would be a very stupid thing to do in real life, this is a game, and I find that super cool.

I have a second motorcycle with a sidecar full of bear traps that I set up between houses when I want to clear out a horde.

I like using electronic noise makers and fires to draw hordes into those traps. I like trying to be clever about how to clear out hordes without risking my skin.

You can make a bow from materials that are plentiful and easy to acquire. Same with arrows. They’re great for players who, like me, never managed to stay alive long enough to start toying around with mutations or CBMs.

Imo they’re not needed, if you want to use them for rp purposes then go right ahead. Ammo is plentiful enough, you can get laser weapons later on, or you can get op in melee and don’t need a bow, only a gun to snipe turrets(or not even that if you have good armor/uncanny dodge cbm)

I tend to disagree. With an upgraded compound bow and metal arrows I can take zombies down from 30-tile distance with 1-3 shots. It takes some time to level the skills up and make a decent weapon, but in general bows are great.

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No kidding. It makes it look like everything is doused in gasoline or something.
There could possibly be some use when lighting an object on fire, but it’d not work that well against a living being. As soon as it enters the body, it’s gonna go out.