14 useful tips for new and veteran players alike. No spoilers, I promise ;) Edit
Hey everyone, my name is Harry, but I'm known on the internet by the name Huds0n, or something similar to that. I first picked up this game back in around august 2014 when it was only out on the Xbox Live Indie Marketplace, and quickly sunk 30,40,50+ hours into it, eventually completing it in each of the three unique ways before getting bored.
Since then, I've migrated to being much more of a heavy PC gamer, so when I saw that this game was finally getting its steam release, I thought I'd pick it back up and play it again, and I've missed the game so much. But you've come here to hear about the tips, not my life.
This was a guide that I initially posted on the forums for the game over on IndieDB, and the developer himself pinned the post to the top of the forum for all to see, which shows the credibility of the guide. Now steam guide formatting is a long and boring process so I'm not going to put each of these tips in a seperate section, so just flip over to the next section for all of the tips. And have fun out there :p
1. Save often! This may come as a given in a game as brutal and unforgiving as Survivalist, but make sure that you save often, and try to incorporate a rolling save method (where you save on block 1, then next time, on block 2, and so forth). There's no telling when you could run into a few white strains or looters unprepared, get yourself killed, and drop an hour of gameplay.
2. Know your survivors! Especially as the game progresses, try and remember the names and appearances of all your survivors. Assign them however you like, just make sure that you remember whether Jacob De Vere is building, or guarding, or farming. The survivors have a slight tendency to get lost or walk miles finding water because they're too good for your grotty well.
3. Timing is key! I find a lot of this game is based on timing. Time when you bring your survivors back from their exploration, so that you're not bored for half an hour watching the 'Sleep Deprivation' meter slowly count down. Time your shots. Wait until enemies get as close as possible before firing a shotgun shell, it's enough to kill a green/blue strain outright from close range. Most of all, don't fire an assault rifle or sniper unless completely locked on, as you're very unlikely to hit anything otherwise.
4. Know your limits! There are many areas of the game, especially in the beginning, that are just too strong for Joe to take on by himself. As a general rule, 1 survivor is safe in green territory, 2 are safe in blue, 3 are safe in red, and 4 are (kinda) safe in white. If you see zombies of a stronger strain than my suggested 'safe' amount, turn around, or be VERY careful. In addition, don't go sprinting into a looter camp without first ascertaining how many looters are in there. You don't want to try and fight off 6 angry shotgun wielding men when you've only got 2 survivors with you.
5. Create a strong exploration party! To do this, find 3 additional survivors who can hit at least 4 stars in both fitness and firearms, and ensure that one of these has a good medical skill. Now, depending on what you are doing, equip them accordingly. Always ensure that the medical person has a lot (10+ bandages), give them all at least a normal backpack, and as high condition bulletproof vests as you can muster. If you are just exploring through the infected, equip 3 survivors with shotguns and give Joe, whom you should control, with a sniper (if you have one), or an assault rifle. AI will just waste bullets with the AR or Sniper. If you are engaging looters, equip your survivors with a molotov or two each, and throw these at enemies in watchtowers, and in addition, take one shotgun from a survivor and instead give them an assault rifle. If you do this, you should be safe from most threats around the map.
6. Build in advance! When you're looking to expand your group, don't wait until you have the survivors before building the requirements. Always build enough shacks and outhouses so that when you recruit 3-4 new people in a short time, they all fit in fine. Otherwise, every survivor in the camp will lose respect for you.
7. Offense is the best defense! At regular intervals throughout the game, you will be met with random hordes of zombies or groups of looters coming to hunt you down. Always go out and meet these attackers away from your base, especially if they are looters. Zombies can cause problems and bite your low-fitness farmers and doctors, especially if they come from red/white-strain towns such as Pequeno Canyon or Monkey Wrench Gulch. Looters will always initiate an attack on your base by lobbing molotov cocktails everywhere. They will burn your crops, walls, shacks, and outhouses, and just generally be annoying. Send your strongest fighters to meet and engage them before they pose any danger to your camp.
8. Make use of temporary survivors! This is an especially useful way to take down looters in the early game. Both Charlie Cashman and Sarah Slaughter of Fort Kohai, and many other survivors elsewhere will follow you anywhere between accepting and completing their relative quest, and Sarah will join you afterwards if you ask her to. Make use of these 'free' survivors to go and take out anything that might be causing you a problem, or any tough sections that you need to progress in the game.
9. Loot everything! Make sure that you have a small section of your community dedicated to 'pack-muling'. That is, sweeping the towns that you have recently explored and killed zombies in, and looting anything and everything. This way, you can keep your initial exploration team freed up in case they need to carry other items, and you have something to do whilst the exploration team is sleeping.
10. Be careful who can see you! Once you have the brain scanner, you will notice that you can easily shakedown and obtain lots of gold from many of the richer survivors if you have enough respect from them. However, if you do this in front of other survivors, whether your community or the other, they will lose approval for you. Make sure that you shakedown any survivors away from their friends, in order to avoid this.
11. Wire fences = fire repellent! Wire fences cannot be burned down. If you don't have the time to constantly engage attacking looters as they come at you, then put wire fences a few blocks in front of your wooden ones. This means that looters can't throw molotovs at your precious wooden structures and cause as much chaos as they usually would. However, be careful, as they can shoot through these fences.
12. Keep on top of food problems! When there are 10+ mouths to feed in your community, they can quickly eat up the canned food that you expected to last for weeks. Always make sure that for every 4 survivors, you have a farmer to keep on top of demand. In addition, if you have a spare survivor, use him as 'hander-outer' person. Go through with this person, harvest a bunch of crops, and have them stand somewhere in the center of your base, so that survivors will go to this person whenever they need food. This way, you can stop every ear of corn being instantly replanted, like the farmers insist on doing.
13. Keep insulin within reach! It's not necessary to get every possible unit of insulin right away. However, always make sure that you have at least one quest that is near completion and will reward you with insulin, in case you can't find anymore before Alice begins to run out. As a general rule, try not to let her fall below 3 units of insulin. If you keep on top of it, it tends to be much less of an issue than you'd think.
14. Put your gun down! When you are heading towards a looter camp, try not to aim your weapon. Instead of taking your aiming at them as a sign of aggression and instantly opening fire on you, a looter will run up to you and attempt to shake you down. This gives you time to work out how many are in the camp, and position yourself to quickly kill a bunch of them with a shotgun spray. In addition, in most camps, the looter that will talk to you is the one in their watchtower, meaning that you can pull a potentially annoying and tricky opponent out of his safety zone and quickly dispatch them.