How useful are bows?


90 or 95% of the time it actually goes out before it even reaches its Target


To be clear, I’m mainly responsible for current archery in the game, and I’m working on a revamp for archery and crossbows as well, so a lot of current archery equipment is going to move around a bit, and more content will get added.

As it stands, and in future, bows are fairly worthless without decent skill, but rapidly gain traction once you have a decent bow and skills. Higher strength also lets you use stronger bows, so a sufficiently strong character can deal substantial damage, and bows fire quite rapidly. The silence is nice, but they really shine when it comes to ammo, since it’s so easy to make and the materials are near limitless.

As for fire arrows, special arrows, emp arrows, etc. We’ll see. I need to do more research and they’re not a priority.

Crossbows are also getting revamped. You can read more about my changes on various other threads.


I think that implying bows are useless because of low initial damage output is a bit silly. It’s like saying ‘the glock is useless because it takes a bunch of bullets to kill a zombie’. There’s doing things in-game because they’re the most optimal, efficient way to play, and there’s doing things just because.

I don’t often use bows because I prefer to use guns. Still, when I come across one in the early game, heck yeah I use it. Ranged is ranged and it’s fun to try new things.

Balancing bows to be more competitive with firearms would be great, but you can’t expect performance from every weapon to be comparable to others. The guns are tiered, the bows are tiered, the melee weapons are tiered.


It’s nice when a game acknowledges that bows require strength to use. From my own observations, that’s a common oversight.


I commonly use bows but that is because I tend to play with very low spawn rates for items and guns and ammo is not common in my worlds. I do not find them useless at all really and having a good bow and 20 arrows around is a good way to plink away wat zombies early in the game. You just need to remember to keep your range from them and have a backup melee weapon in case you run out or get ambushed by a few of them. I use them from self bow all the way up. Bows are easy to make and the ammo is also very easy and uses little resources to get a decent amount of ranged damage.


I’m surprised there’s not many people who like bows in this threat.

I main bows. A fully swagged out Compound Bow set to ( high ) setting kills ordinary zombies in one hit. I can kill large groups without much movement at all.

Hunks are trivial, unless I’d get ambushed from around the corner the tank dies before it’s anywhere close to me. And even if it did, I can punch them to death easily enough.

Heck, I even bow Juggernauts.The damage is minimal, but I can still easily kill them and train up my Archery at the same time.

Bows require some early game preparation to be usable, some books, but once they do they’re a major force to be reckoned with. I haven’t used a gun once in my world, they are simply unnecessary for me.


Bows are a ton of fun. I enjoy the hell out of them.

Oh, and for everyone poo-pooing specialized arrows… remember this is a game with Death machines, portals to other dimensions, and zombies. I find it rather amazing all the stuff that gets a “pass” because its convenient for 98% of the players in-game, but something silly like “fire arrows” strikes some sort of weird ass nerve where people say “thats not very realistic.” Neither is putting potable water in a container that just held fuel or ammonia. There’s a reason why we have things called “Food safe containers” and warnings about using containers that once held dangerous chemicals for storing drinking water.

I don’t see why fire arrows can’t be balanced and be a ‘thing’. Take pine pitch and make your arrow about 6 inches longer. Maybe you can only make 5 at a time and make 'em a one use item. Shorten the range, give them accuracy penalties. Fire Arrows don’t have to incinerate zombies to be fun. Light up an arrow and fire it into a house to burn the house down. Maybe you needs to fire multiple arrows into the house. Make it so they can burn a forest down if you fire the arrows around willy-nilly. They could be used in so many different ways.

The argument “well they aren’t very realistic” is weak imo.


Big difference between a bunch of stuff that builds the world, much of which is explained in the game itself such as the zombies being a blob infection, multiple dimensions being part of the lore of the world vs the total nonsense of fire arrows. There’s more to deciding what works with a fictional world then just hey this isn’t real so therefore everything should be allowed cause I want it. I 100% agree that containers should cease to be safe if they contain unsafe things and that will probably get added at some point. Surprised it hasn’t already but I’d view that as a temporary technical thing. Physics don’t allow fire arrows to work and there is definitely a push to try and keep the game realistic from the people working on it so I doubt nuking physics is going to be something to get very far.


There’s plenty of ways to get the result of a fire arrow without having an arrow that is “on fire” at the time of the launch.

But hey, running lazer cannons off solar panels sounds really realistic too.


Well at least laser cannons run off power and solar panels produce power. I can’t even get my vehicles engine running consistently without having to slam a reactor on periodically with just solar panels so if laser cannons can be run steadily off solar panels that’s just under tuned power cost. Sounds like a problem then and you should definitely make a thread about it so it can get fixed as I’ve never gotten a laser cannon yet so no experience with how much they do or don’t cost.


The HELLAD is a 150 kW laser was fired with a 30 second beam time. Even if the beam efficiency is only around 10%, that’s only 45,000 kJ, or slightly more than 1 CDDA storage battery.

Running a 150 kW laser off a 50 W solar panel just requires a big storage battery and lots of recharge time between firings.


I will concede on that point. No contest there.

However… greekfire was used to burn ships on the ocean. Granted it was a ballista bolt with a clay pot on the end of it filled with a sort of napalm and thats not the same as a slender arrow… Ill look for something a bit more substantial to prove my point.

Mostly i just want to fire an arrow where it acts as a distraction to draw zombies away from where i want to be. While i would like to see it in the game, balance is more important to me than realism or fantasy. I see a fire arrow as a scaled down greekfire bolt. A mini Molotov that has a better thrown range but much smaller AoE not an arrow thats actually on fire.

At worst this will just add another spur to me spending time figuring out how to add a mod and learn to add to the game.


Like I said, I’ve got to do more research, and I have about 15 things higher on my todo list than fire arrows.
That said, I’m anxious to explore things like thermite or napalm, or even just a bullet attached to the end of an arrow (thing in real life). I’m fully intending to follow real world physics as best I can (since that’s part of the game design) but there’s a lot more options than a bit of pine resin on the end of the arrow.

Traditionally, fire arrows were pretty sucky, and you’d be lucky to start a dry building on fire, let alone a person fully capable of rolling on the ground to put themselves out. But our survivors have access to modern materials and equipment, so there’s a lot more wiggle room in terms of what they might come up with.

That said, there are a handful of real world utility arrows. Things like rubber blunts, whistle arrows, rope bolts, even ones that have lights in the nock so you can find them at night. They could all be useful for distracting zombies/doing weird stuff. Any kind of effective fire arrow is going to be fairly expensive/difficult to craft, but sticking a 9mm round on the end of an arrow and having it go off when it hits is pretty simple.