With the additional crafting that has been added to Cataclysm DDA, I don’t think you need to go to town. You can get strong just by killing wildlife and survive. So you can get pretty buff and stay away from zombies.
8/3: You never need to start with archery. you can make a self bow with level 2 or 3 survival (forgot which one). So archery is a waste of a point. Changing below.
The only thing you really NEED to go to town for early is water. Since most spawns dont start by water. See below for how to handle it.
Spend a week training in the woods and your going to be fairly buff. Reduces risk when you do town raids.
- smash a bench in the shelter to make a melee weapon
- throw rocks at rabbits to train throwing (goes up fast) and butcher to train survival (critical for getting food and for crafting)
- i believe you can craft a stone hammer and stone pot (for boiling water) with survival 3 and items you find in the woods
- you can craft multiple stone pots to poor boiled water in
- you start with 20 matches. even if you dont find corpses that will last a while. cooking can be trained by cooking rabbits, etc…
- bow (though not as strong as it used to be very useful), is tricky. if you start with archery you can craft a bow with 1 survival. if not you to either find crossbow traps, disarm, hope your bolts dont break so you can train archery to 1 by shooting rabbits (which in .71 is hard since you miss constantly).
- once archery is 1 and survival is 1 you can craft a bow and arrows. you can train archery up very high without fighting. you just make arrows. smash bench or chop trees.
Water is the only issue. Most starts dont start by water. Will disucss that later.
Things you can train high in woods
- cooking, by cooking food and boiling water with stone pot.
- survival by butchering corpses (critical for crafting)
– survival alternative: smash small trees (shown as 1 on map) and then craft digging sticks from the heavy sticks. This is a VERY fast way to get survival up. Once survival is at 5, you dont need to raise it again (not 100% sure if that is true in .71. might be higher level recipes)/
- some mechanics and engineering by breaking locker and find stuff in rubble by crafting. limited
- When you get survival to 2 or 3, you can create a self bow (forgot which). not a very good weapon. Best way to train archery at this point, is to (s)mash benches in your shelter and then craft arrow shafts. go outside and use splinted wood (from smashed bench) to light a fire. Craft the arrow shaft into fire hardened arrows. you can quickly get your archery to 5. In .71 archery is not as good. you need a 5-6 archery to be even decent with it. by then you can craft a better bow. You need string (By smashing windows in a house or sinew from killing some form of plant) to make a bow.
- some melee fighting when dogs or wolves come up to you plus dodge.
- throwing. very under rated skill. throwing is easy to buff since dex is so much more valuable in .71 (go see what happens when you raise dex). throwing rocks does alot of damage now to wildlife
Items can get
- stone pots, stone hammers.
- food easily. you need to butcher to get surival to 3 so you actually get bodies
- should find corpses littered. they are common, but there is a luck factor. there seem to be more scientist ones. which is good since they tend to have clean water
- items in rubble for crafting.
Hard to get:
- water. unless you spawn near water. however, you can usually find a working toilet at houses at the edge of town. may have to kill a couple of zombies. can get unlucky and run into a smoker. but once that house is clear. no new zombies spawn and can get in and out quickly.
- armor, guns and ammo (hard to get enough corpses to get ammo to match guns), electronics, etc…
- lack of carrying capacity. This is luck. you can often find army pants, and backpacks on corpses. however, there is luck involved. more common in town.
Water is the only reason you would have to go to town.
Depending on spawns (luck)
- science corpses. VERY common. Science Lab IDs. You can often find a science lab and use this to get into the lab. Can find massive amounts of good stuff in a lab. Dont need to go to town. Do NOT fight turrets. Shut the door. These are difficult to loot until you get a better light source. so dont go too far down until you have a light source or you will get lost and frustrated. underground maps are not well implemented.
- different corpses. Scientists are the most common. Military ones are nice, but most of the time you dont get ammo for the guns you find. so this is a nice to have. Science is better cause they often come with clean water which buys you time to avoid town.
- drug runners. read wiki on drugs. becareful. you can OD on drugs. so use sparingly
- LMOE shelter. has water supply. so may want to temporarily relocate here for training. they tend to be far from stuff
- working cars and gas stations. I generally dont find driving useful until I find a driving book to get my driving to 1. Before that its nasty. but up to you.
Risks in the woods
- lack of guns and armor. some times you run into bad stuff and you need more fire power. odds of getting ammo for guns is lower.
- stay away from triffids, vinebeasts, wabbacjacks, ants, spiders, and bees (bees are good to clear after getting archery high, but they poison and this can kill you).
- military bases. zombie soldiers and turrets are deadly
- FEMA camps. you will die
- dont go into caves
- any new zones in .71 I dont know about. Dont take risks since you probably wont have firepower.
- wolves can be deadly. your best bet is to get throwing up early and throw rocks at them since they leap away. Cougars are wolves,but harder. if you do melee you can only hit when next to you.
Alternative to getting Archery skill at creation.
If you do pop into town briefly, then smash a fridge to get a rubber hose, and you can craft a slingshot, then bang rocks together to make ammo. It’s highly inaccurate and does pathetic damage, but it’s a fast way to boost Archery if you don’t put points into it at character creation
This could be very valuable. Saves you a point. Noise is not that much of an issue with dynamic spawns right now. Lets you put a point into something else.
Survival can be trained up by foraging as well as butchering, so pick every berry bush you come across in order to push it up faster. Berries provide a small amount of Quench too, so eating them primarily can hold off your thirst issues a little longer.
Me: try to only eat berries until you get a water supply. once you are full you cant eat anymore and get quench which is harder. So if you find meat and cook it, let it rot.
Important Combat mechanics
- Armor/clothing/backpacks kills dodge and combat. When you wear something press ‘@’ and tab over. go down the list and see your doge combat penalties. if you have to fight. leave yourself sometime to take stuff off and drop stuff. so if you have a backpack on and going to melee. take it off. drop items. This will cost you turns to throw. so plan for it. posisbly run away and drop. critical early with low skills. Damage causes PAIN which means you suck more as you get hurt. It is VERY important to pay attention to this when you put stuff on. I tend to load up with 2 backpacks to grab stuff, so i have to take things off.
- damage is to location. So watch your damage. you can be perfect in 1 location and then die.
- if you end up with a broken limb, its difficult to heal. you will need to craft a splint or go to a hospital (these have special spawns so are a death trap early. it means, massive numbers of zombies. )
- if you have pain you are slower and its harder to run away.
Importance of Morale
- you train faster when you are happier. so look at your focus. you gain focus based on morale. press ‘v’ to see morale. go to wiki for what raises and lowers morale. note more stuff lowers morale than raises it
- mp3 raises morale. I believe the mechanics changed. this used to cap at 50. I think it slowly goes up above 50 morale bonus. HOWEVER, you can use up batteries fast. so if morale is not going up from mp3, turn it off. let it go down. yes this is a hassle and i think it should be automated. but we are not here yet. dont waste your batteries.
- some foods raise morale.
- being too hot lowers morale. So press ‘v’ for overheated. its from what you wear. press ‘@’ in the second box you can see how hot you are by area. from there you can tell by what you are wearing. carrying lots of stuff due to pockets is nice,but the sooner your skills go up the safer you are. so focus on morale. a little morale adds up over the long term.
- you can disable training certain skills so you dont waste focus. Press ‘@’, press tab until you get to the skill box. Press down arrow and press ‘spacebar’ to disable.
- survival does nothing above 5 (may have changed in .71. ). may not want to waste focus on throwing above say 5.
- may want to turn off construction training after 1 or 2 or off completely early on. Not that important. there are not that many things to build and most of them require alot of items. not critical early.
- sometimes i like to turn off throwing even early so i have higher focus for butchering to get survival up so I can craft more. tihs is a bit dangerous. with the throwing bonus you get to dexterity in .71 might be worth getting a few points in throwing early and it goes up really quickly.
- try to maneuver to fight 1 thing at a time. its tricky, but focus on that.
- crafting trains skills. making arrows (can do when archery hits 1) trains archery alot. using bows for archery trains firearms (this was reduced in .71, but if you use bows alot, your firearms skill will go up).
- run away. run away. run away. you suck early
- critical to cook the meat you find. you need cooking 1 to make a stone pot to boil water.
- (NEW .71 game mechanic)do NOT light a fire near your shelter or it will burn up. fires are more dangerous and have smoke in .71. smash benches. get splintered wood (you cant craft anything with these), drop it. move next to it. press ‘a’ and then matches to light. do NOT light a fire near a bush or woods or it may go up in smoke. When you cook stand as far away from your fire as possible. You now get smoke damage and its bad. I am not sure yet if using ‘*’ constructoin and making a fireplace from 40 rocks helps contain smoke. New game mechanic. you still need to cook. just keep an eye on your damage so you dont die.
Key items early
- anything that says clean water. anything else that is liquid. food is easy to get. kill rabbits.so if you find food on corpses , might be best to go to the map and press ‘N’ and then keep a note ‘food on corpses here’ since you cant carry everything
- filter mask : critical for cooking to keep out smoke and for fighting smoker zombies
- guns and ammo. good news is lots of corpses with guns and ammo. bad news is, lots of different guns with ammo. so odds are you wont get a match. might not be worth it to grab if not a match. if you dont have space
- jug of ammonia/bleach. you dont want the ammonia or bleach, you want the jug for water. Press 'U’nload, your inventory pops up, click on the letter for your jug (must be 'w’ielded first), then press enter to leave the inventory screen (yeah this is clunky) and when it asks to pour on ground press yes)
You can fill with water in toilets, streams, ponds. look for houses in outskirts of town. do NOT drink water unless it says clean. you need to purify
- tins are still useless. so if you drink something,drop them to save space
- 3 ft string (smash windows) lots of craftables with these. need for bows
- clothing with pockets. army/cargo stuff, backpack, rugsack, trenchcoat
- better melee weapon. baseball is better than what you can craft. if you can get one get it and drop whatever else you have.
- helmet. kevlar is up to you. this hurts dodge. i prefer to wear it.
- food is not real important. the rabbit spawns are so big and i recommend killing with rocks early anyway. I recommend saving food that doesn’t rot for times yoiu need it
- books that give skills. dont bother with books that help morale. See wiki. Note that stuff that helps with npcs is useless since its turned off. these are heavy so you can come back for them. you may not have time to read real early. these are good in case you are injured and need time to heal.
- thread, sewing kit (if you apply to items they get fitted which reduces dodge penalty. not with 0 sewing you will destroy more stuff than you fix. so practice on junk clothing
- clothing that keeps you warm. you can craft furs and stuff in a few days, but you want a few things in your shelter so you can sleep at night
- first aid, bandages.
- dont get 10 of everything .dont get everything. you cant carry that much. just mark on your map
Things absolutely not to do:
- FEMA Camps, military anything, soldiers, triffids, ants, bees, vinebeasts, centipedes, blob. stay away
- smoker zombie and zombie brute (very fast) are death traps
- go into center of town even at night. stay on outskirts first few days. get stronger to be safe.
- use bionics. your skills are too low and you will waste them. just stockpile them. these are heavy. so often best to mark on the map and leave them.
- dont get caught far from base at night. too hard to see what is out there. daytime exploring is good. wandering is good to find corpses
- spider webs. stay away. you can get stuck and worse fall underground
- caves. avoid the temptation to go down.
- dont get caught in town when the sun comes up. in .71 you dont get the exacdt time until you get a watch so be careful
- dont think your tough. you will die
- new mobs each version. if you dont know about them, check wiki, if not in wiki, run away.
Best location to explore early
- science lab. scientists are the most common corpses. you need 1 ID to get into a lab. lots of good stuff. if you open a door and see a turret, close it. These are tough to explore until you get better lighting and underground maps are bad. So dont go too deep. i like to open all doors to a room so i know i have been there. lots of good stuff in here.
- LMOE shelter. has water in the shelter, but usually far from town. though its a good place to camp to more safely raise skills.
- wander outside during the day to get more areas on your map.
- if you find a trap map, try disarming spiked boards, maybe crossbow traps (you will take damage). dont touch landminds. your dead. if you find a bunch of landmine traps. mark them. very helpful if you get in trouble. animals/zombies can walk over them and poof dead.
- very outskirts of town. better to smash window in back of house then open door in front. noise is not that much of an issue, plus you get 3ft string.
- dont go too far from your base
- wolves/cougars are dangerous. move slowly. they can jump 2-3 squares to you, get 1 attack (so you can counter) and jump away)
- beware holding down movement keys. its tempting, but you can be dead before you realize what happened.
- Watch your heat. when you put stuff on it affects how hot you are, which hurts morale. Morale affects your ability to train skills. So press ‘v’ after putting cloths on and look at morale. you can tell how warm you are at the ‘@’ screen. the temperature shows up in the second box with colors. you want to maximize your morale to get skills up faster
- Sound doesn’t matter as much with static zombie spawns. with dynamic sound zombies will spawn with noise. People to tell you to always carry a crowbar did not notice the code change with static spawns. Its not THAT important. So you can break windows in the back of a house. Odds are this WILL change at some point. but not now
- When you smash a window press ‘*’ and clear it. or you will get pain and damage your sneakers
- Sneakers are fast. The effect on speed is -1, which means it makes you faster
- press ‘@’ and pay attention to any speed penalties you get. Penalties for hunger and thirst make you slower. so you cant run away
- Thirst is worse than hunger. getting food is easy. Water requires that you boil it first. so try to only eat berries at first so you quench from this