Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cataclysm: DDA - tips for beginners

The evac shelter is that white plus sign at the center of the map. The town is south and west. That large structure to the SE is the mansion I discovered and cleared.

Note: This is a sequel to my previous post, which also combines the story of my current play of Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead with information on how to get started in this free, rogue-like zombie-survival game.

In my first post, I explained how to install the game, choose a graphics pack, and set the window size. In this, I'll give some starting tips. Note that I'm not an expert myself, far from it. But often, I think that beginners can better understand the problems that fellow beginners face.

Now, on with the story:

I looted the bodies of those scientists, though I couldn't carry everything I wanted - not even close. Then I chopped their heads off. Yeah, that wasn't much fun, but I wanted them to stay dead. [Butcher corpses when you can, because that increases your Survival skill. But if you don't have time for that, be sure to smash them, so they don't get up again.]

They had a lot of neat stuff, but I had to leave most of it behind, because I just couldn't carry everything. I had water, at least, and I took a lab coat in my size from one of them (lots of pockets!), but I still needed supplies of all kinds.

So I mentally flipped a coin and headed south on the highway. There was forest on both sides, and more of those weird fungal creatures. I kept my distance and they didn't bother me, but I saw a fungal tower off to the east. Had this stuff escaped from a research lab? I had no idea what it was.

Eventually, I arrived at the edge of town again, and although I could see zombies in the distance, I was able to smash a window and sneak inside a house without attracting their attention. It was a lucky break, made even luckier when I made it across the street to find an unlocked door at the neighbor's.

But by then, I'd been spotted. Well, I couldn't carry any more stuff anyway, so I opened a back window and ran.
[You can open most windows from the inside, though you have to pry them open or smash them open from the outside. Once inside, you can also close drapes, which will keep zombies from seeing you inside the house.]

As I headed northwest, making a beeline for the evac shelter, I came upon a huge mansion standing all alone in an empty field. For a moment, seeing figures inside, I thought I'd found survivors... And then zombies started crashing through the windows.

Well, maybe I'd just had enough of running, I don't know. But these were just... ordinary zombies, not the really dangerous types, and they were spread out. So I threw rocks at them until I could lure them into a bush, to slow their movement, then beat them down with my studded club.

OK, there were only five of them, and they'd happened to attack separately, one at a time, but I felt pretty good after that. And as I stood looking at that mansion, I had an idea.



It's the nature of rogue-like games that you die frequently, especially when you're first learning to play. There's no save-game feature, so when you're dead, you're dead. Start a new character and try again.

Or you can manually backup the save-game folder. :)  I'm not going to tell you how to play the game, because I don't care how you play the game - any game. I usually keep a backup of my save-game folder, myself, though I almost never end up using it. But I like having the option.

If you find the game too difficult, you can also increase the number of points available in character generation (from the initial screen, go to Options, then tab to the Debug menu), though I'm not sure how much difference that will make.

That's where you can select from various skill rust options, too. (Skill rust makes you lose levels in skills if you haven't used them for awhile. I don't like it, myself, but you can set it however you like.)

I should say a little more about the World Defaults tab, too. Originally, Cataclysm started with no zombies (although you could still encounter dangerous animals, right from the start). When you began the game, you'd make a mad dash to the nearest town, so you could grab equipment in relative safety.

When zombies did start to spawn, after a half hour or so, they'd be the ordinary versions, the least dangerous zombies, at first, so you could get out of town before it got deadly. However, zombies would continue to spawn throughout the game - more zombies the more noise you made - so you could never clear out an area.

Static spawn, which is now the default option, is quite different. All kinds of zombies are present in Cataclysm right from the start, so towns are very dangerous for a new character. However, zombies don't respawn (although they will get back up, eventually, if you don't Butcher or smash their corpses), so you can kill all the zombies in an area and it will stay relatively clear (except for anything wandering in from a neighboring area, of course).

Static spawn makes the beginning game much harder, but the later game, if you make it that far, easier. I prefer it because it just makes more sense to me. (Why would zombies just 'spawn' out of nowhere? And why would the towns be empty at the start of the game?) But it's your game, so decide for yourself.

There's also an option under World Defaults to choose only "classic zombies" and natural wildlife, rather than the bizarre creatures you get by default. I imagine that that would be a lot easier than the default game, but I've never actually tried it, myself. I do plan to,... sometime.

Oh, and I'd recommend leaving NPCs off, which is the default in Cataclysm. It would be great to have human NPCs in the game, but apparently, that's still buggy.

A garden area to the south side of the mansion, with all my stuff piled up in the corridor to the west (looks kind of like my real home in that respect :) )

The mansion looked more like a department store or a modern museum than a home, since the exterior walls were composed almost entirely of plate-glass windows. It must have been like living in a goldfish bowl (and not exactly the safest design in a zombie apocalypse).

On the other hand, it was out of town a ways, set off by itself on a huge expanse of lawn. So there wouldn't have been anyone to look inside anyway, I guess. It was that last part which intrigued me. If I could clear the mansion of zombies - and I had no idea what was inside - I might be able to make a stronghold out of the place.


[With a little construction skill and enough two-by-fours and nails - which you can get by deconstructing benches and other furniture - you can board up windows. Or you can Grab bookcases and refrigerators and drag them to block off the windows.]

I suppose it was foolish, but I was in luck - there were only ordinary zombies in the place, not the really dangerous types. There were a lot of them, true, but I took my time. Towards the end, I got a bit too eager and took some damage - indeed, my jeans and my new lab coat were totally destroyed - but I had myself a new home. And, although bruised, I hadn't been bitten. As I say, I was lucky.

There was a lot of food in the house, and a lot of books. So I spent the next week just loafing and reading, trying to learn the skills I'd need to survive. I ran out of food before I ran out of books, so I tried to do some hunting. Well, I stayed alive, but that's about all. (Someone had set traps on the west side of the house, and they'd caught a deer. But I discovered it too late, so the meat was rotten.)

There was a lot of drizzle and even acid rain, so I couldn't do as much hunting as I wanted. And then I got sick. Yeah, it was just a cold, I suppose, but it hit me hard. For several days, I couldn't do anything much but sleep (when I could sleep, with all the coughing). And when I finally recovered, there was more acid rain to deal with.

By the time that cleared up, I really needed supplies - especially food. (There was a swimming pool in the mansion full of water. It didn't taste very good, but after boiling, it was perfectly safe.) So I headed southeast again.

There were fungal creatures everywhere. Apparently, all that rain was causing a population explosion. They weren't especially close to the mansion, not yet, but they seemed to be spreading rapidly. Heck, they were a long way from where I'd seen that first bunch. There was even a fungal infestation in the town - among the zombies. I couldn't tell for sure what was going on there, but it certainly wasn't safe for me.

So I went west, instead. As I got near some suburban homes, I was spotted by zombies almost immediately, but I pried open a window (I'd found a crowbar in the mansion, so I'd left my club behind) and gathered up some loot before escaping again. On the way out, I killed a shrieker, but not before it made a lot of noise. But I still made it home OK.

Unfortunately, as a food run, it was nearly a bust. And would that fungal infestation keep spreading? Would I lose my new mansion, and all the stuff I'd found there? It seemed likely, and I didn't have a hope in hell of carrying everything away with me.



I won't say too much about traits and skills, since it's fun to experiment. But note that zombies - and most other enemies - can detect your character by sight, hearing, and smell. (They can follow a scent trail, if it's not too old, and your scent will balloon out from you if you stay in one area for long. Thus, I would definitely not recommend the Smelly negative trait at character creation, especially for a measly -1 points.)

One tactic is to raid towns at night, which drastically lowers an enemy's sight range (yours, too, of course). So, if you plan to do that, it's very handy to take the Night Vision trait, which doubles your sight range at night, and the Light Step trait, which muffles movement noise, too.

You can still get into trouble, of course, especially if you spend too much time on your raid. Thus, it can be handy to have the Fleet-Footed trait, so you can move faster (and escape more quickly). But that's just an example of how these might work together.

When it comes to skills, they're all useful, except for Bartering and Speech - especially if you have NPCs disabled (zombies aren't known for their conversational skills). You can learn most of them from books - if you're lucky enough to find the right books - and all of them through practice.

Still, some would be particularly handy for a new character. Survival, for example, helps you get useful meat after butchering an animal. As critical as food is, it's extremely frustrating to ruin the meat when butchering with no, or low, Survival skill!

A beginning level of Dodge is nice, too. You're going to get into situations where enemies try to hit you, and, obviously, it would be really helpful to dodge some of those attacks. But Firearm skills would be less useful at the start, because you first have to find a gun and the right ammunition for it. Also, guns are noisy, so they'll likely cause more problems than they solve.

One of the handiest weapon skills - but one that's very easy to train, so don't start with it - is Throwing. Many things can be thrown, but rocks are everywhere, so you don't even have to worry about retrieving them afterwards. Throwing is also quiet, and rocks have a pretty decent range. You won't often kill an enemy by throwing rocks at it, not until your skill is higher, but you can still injure it before it gets near enough to injure you.

Note that Tailoring is also a very useful skill. You need a needle and thread (or make bone needles from bones), but you can practice on the clothing every zombie is wearing. At low skill levels, you're likely to damage what you're trying to repair, but once you get a little better at it, you can keep your clothing and your backpacks in tiptop condition. That's very important, since it affects not just your armor, but your ability to carry stuff, too.

Cooking macaroni & cheese over a campfire. Look at the recipe list! And this is just one of eight tabs in the craft screen.

The next morning, I headed north, away from the city. I had fungus to the east and zombies in the city to the south and west. There were forests and fields to the north, but what else? If I had to escape, that was going to be my only option.

I cut through a spur of the forest and came out on the same highway that ran past the evac shelter. But this time, I went north. And at the end of the road was some kind of scientific research station.

The door was locked, but a scanner took one of the ID cards I'd scavenged off those dead scientists and let me inside. There was a short hallway, ending in descending stairs. Two doors led into rooms on either side.

The first room was filled with,... well, pools of goo. I didn't like the looks of that, so I tried the other. There I found beds. That would work fine for a storeroom and temporary base as I explored further.

It was dark underground, so I needed my flashlight, but there seemed to be power to the computer terminals I found (all password-protected). Unfortunately, there was power to the defensive turrets, too! I tried to be careful, but those turrets were fast. I couldn't even peek around a corner without getting sprayed with submachine gun fire.

I was hit a couple of times, but not too bad. I found some first-aid kits and patched myself up OK. All I had was aspirin for pain-killer, but that was better than nothing. And most of the rooms seemed to be safe enough to explore.

It appeared to be a huge underground complex - perhaps a cloning facility, though I only explored a small part of it. I found two dead bodies and a bunch of clothing, plus some large bottles of cleaning supplies, but not much else. Still, I hauled most of it topside, so I could sort through it at my leisure.

This wouldn't be a bad bolthole, if I were forced to leave the mansion. As far as I could tell, there was only one entrance, so it wouldn't do to get trapped in there. But who knew? There was a lot I hadn't explored yet - that I didn't dare explore until I could take care of those defensive turrets.

So I figured I'd return to the mansion and study some books on computer science. Perhaps I could learn enough to hack the system here? Well, what else could I do? So I headed back, encountering nothing but another sewer rat on the way.

The funny thing is, after turning up my nose at it the week before, I was pretty much living on rat meat by then. In my travels back and forth, I'd seen a lot of wildlife - deer, turkey, rabbits - but I could never get close enough to hunt any of it. There were a lot of rats around, though, and they would come to me.

I'm sure they'd be dangerous if I encountered them in large numbers, but not so much one at a time. And although it wasn't the tastiest meat around, rat meat would keep me alive. If I could kill a deer, I'd eat venison. But by then, I was glad enough to get rat.



OK, you've created your world and your character, and you're standing in the evac shelter. What now?

If you call up your map, you can see a small part of your world. There's lots more, but you'll have to explore to see what it's like. Every world is different, since it's all procedurally generated. But your evac shelter should be the only building around, far enough from the town that you won't see zombies from the windows (and they won't see you).

There might be dangerous animals outside, though. And you do have to go outside. That's the first thing I'd do, in fact. Be careful - try not to go too far from the shelter - but get yourself a rock. Then come back inside. (Close the doors behind you. Some creatures will crash through the windows or break down the doors to get at you, but many won't.)

I suggest wielding that rock and smashing apart one of the metal lockers. Yes, it will make a lot of noise, but if there aren't any zombies nearby, that should be OK. It will take a few tries, but you should end up with some pieces of metal, including a metal pipe. Well, by using the crafting screen (&), you can make a crowbar by beating that pipe with your rock.

Alternately, you can beat apart a wooden bench and make a weapon from the two-by-fours (and maybe nails). However, a crowbar is not just an effective melee weapon, but a very useful tool. You can pry open locked doors with a crowbar (making a less noise than smashing them down), and often windows, too (although you do have a chance of breaking the window).

And you really can't carry much but what you can put in your hands. So a combination weapon/tool is ideal. Once you've made a weapon, wield it and go downstairs. It will be dark down there, but there probably won't be any enemies (probably no loot, either, but it's important to check).

The first thing you need - the really critical thing, at first - is a backpack, duffel bag, messenger bag, fanny pack, purse - anything which will increase your carrying capacity. Certain clothing will work for that, too - cargo pants, trenchcoat, lab coat, clown suit, etc.

You can find such things in houses, but you can also find them on zombies, after you kill them (admittedly, their clothing is usually badly damaged). But you need to avoid zombies unless you can take them out one at a time. Be careful. Be cautious. Be sneaky.

There are three things to keep in mind. Storage capacity is the first. You need to be able to carry stuff, or it's not going to do you any good to find things. (Note that damaged items will carry less. Keep your stuff repaired, if you can.)

Every item has a volume and a weight. The total weight you can carry depends on your strength, but the total volume depends on the storage capacity of your packs and your clothing (plus one item which you can carry in your hands).

Encumbrance is the second. Clothing will often burden your character, slowing him down. Clothing that "fits" is better in this respect, but if you wear multiple layers, it can still be a burden. Check your character screen (@) when you Wear a new item.

Finally, clothing works as armor. Often, your clothing or your packs will be hit instead of, or in addition to, you. As it's damaged, you can lose storage capacity and armor coverage, so keep your stuff repaired, if you can. (This is where that Tailoring skill comes in handy.)

Of course, you need far more stuff than just backpacks and clothing, but you won't be able to carry much stuff without containers and pockets to hold it. Keep a note of things you've left behind (Note those on the map).

Once you can carry stuff - and even when you can't - food and water (fruit juice, soft drinks, etc.) are primary requirements. Eat and drink the perishable stuff first. It won't last long. Drop aluminum cans and empty cardboard boxes, but you need those empty plastic bottles, because you can fill them with water at toilets, swimming pools, rivers, etc.

But you need a fire, a pot or a pan, and an empty bottle in order to turn them into fresh water. (If you drink out of the toilet, or from any other unclean water, you'll get sick.) Note that you can make a stone pot out of rocks in the crafting screen (&).

Good luck! You're alone in the zombie apocalypse (worse than the zombie apocalypse, in fact, because there are far bigger dangers than just zombies out there). You start with almost nothing but the clothes on your back and with hardly any skills. You're considered prey by almost everything.

So watch yourself. Be careful. Run from danger. If you get injured, that will slow you down, and if you can't run away, you'll likely end up dead. (Note that some things are faster than you, anyway.) You have to be smarter than your foes, because you probably won't be tougher than them - certainly not at first.

You'll probably die. Well, everyone dies. So try to have fun before you go. :)

___
PS. I've got more tips for actually playing the game, so I'll probably write another of these, eventually. Meanwhile, note that most of my other posts about computer games are here.

16 comments:

Chimeradave said...

I played the game again this afternoon and I am starting to understand what's going on. I'm figuring out how to do things, but still making stupid mistakes.

I played in a world where there was a lot of water and I couldn't swim (everytime I build a character now I make sure he can swim). So I had to go through a swamp to get to anything useful. and it the swamp was a sort of circle thing but instead of trying to discover what it was from afar I just went onto the space and it was a sinkhole and I fell in and there was no way out.

On another game I through a rock at a window so I could go in a house and the noise caused lots of zombies to run over and kill me.

I am still struggling to understand combat in this. I just walk into the zombie and this initiates an action. Is that what I'm supposed to do? Otherwise we just stand next to each other and don't do anything.

I am still learning how to interact with the world. For instance I can't figure out how to use a sink or look at items on a bookshelf. I found a menu that included moving furniture but I'm not sure how to do that either.

I also somehow closed the game one time while I was in the middle of playing and lost the game. That was annoying.

But as I understand more it is getting to be more fun.

I've been playing around with building the character, but I never last long enough for any of the building to really matter.

I also don't know like when to eat or sleep or how to help myself if I'm injured.

The game is so complicated.

I tried to throw a rock at something in the evac shelter like you suggested but it didn't seem like it did anything.

I'm having a hard time finding a bag to put things in so I've been making myself a survivalist just because you start with a bag.

WCG said...

John, 'stupid' mistakes are what make rogue-like games so difficult - by design. Your mistakes aren't stupid. It's just easy to die in a rogue-like.

However, you misunderstood some of my tips, I think. You don't throw the rock at a locker, you wield it as a melee weapon ('w'), stand next to the locker, and smash it ('s' and the direction) a few times.

Eventually, depending on your strength, you'll smash it into pieces, one of which will be a metal pipe. Then go to the craft menu ('&') and make a makeshift crowbar. Then wield that instead of the rock.

(You can also disassemble furniture from the building menu ('*'), which isn't so noisy, but you need tools. You won't have those at the start of the game.)

To pry open a locked door, activate ('a') the crowbar and then indicate the direction of the door. It may take a few times, if your strength is low. (Note that you can make lockpicks in the crafting menu, and that not all doors are locked, anyway.)

Sometimes, you can pry open a window, too. Or you can smash ('s') a window, which will bring zombies if they're close by, but isn't too noisy. (After that, clean the glass from the window from the construction menu ('*') so you don't cut yourself going through it.)

Press 'e' and the direction to look at stuff next to you (even when it's in a dresser or bookcase) or to get water from a toilet (your inventory will open up, so you can tell the game which bottle to put the water in), that sort of thing.

Combat: If you're wielding a melee weapon (you can use your fists, but I wouldn't recommend it), you can stand next to an enemy and press the move key towards him to automatically strike with that weapon. Smash ('s') would probably work, too, I'm guessing.

If your enemy is on a bush, a broken window, a table - anything which slows him down (look at the movement cost of the terrain) - he won't be able to hit you as quickly as you hit him. Of course, that depends on the speed of your weapon and the speed of that creature, too - and some can hit you twice with one attack (there are lots of variations).

If you've got a rock or something else to throw ('t') in your inventory, you can do that before the creature gets close to you. (Again, you'll be trying to lure it to disadvantageous terrain, so you might as well try to injure it as it comes your way.) If you've equipped a bow/crossbow and have arrows/bolts in inventory, or you've equipped a loaded gun (most aren't loaded when you find them), fire ('f') your weapon at them. (Note that firearms are noisy!)

Look at everything in your inventory ('i'). Everything has a volume and a weight. Clothing also has an armor value, percent coverage (the chance a zombie will hit the clothing instead of bare skin), storage size (pockets, normally), material (cut up cotton clothing to get rags, leather clothing for leather patches), encumbrance, etc.

If you can wield it or throw it (most things, though they might be terrible for that purpose), it will show you the melee damage, damage type, bonus to hit, and speed of the weapon. You can strike more quickly with a fast weapon, even though you might not do as much damage. And some damage types are better for some creatures.

But pick up and look at everything, if you can. Read the description at the bottom of the item (it has to be in your inventory to see the whole thing). Look at your crafting menus ('&') to see what you might be able to make, if you can find the right stuff. (As your skills increase, you'll get more crafting 'recipes'.) Look at the construction menu ('*'), too.

There's a lot to discover in this game, John. That's what makes it fun, though it has a real learning curve. Good luck! (Any other questions? Just ask.)

WCG said...

PS. Yeah, even with that long reply, there's a ton more I should have said. But I'll try to keep this one short(er). Just three things:

(1) Marshes are very dangerous. I'd stay away, at least as a low-level character. Yes, the whole world is dangerous, but some places are worse than others. You'll discover which, I'm sure. :)

(2) Even if zombies see you - especially if they're just the ordinary zombies - you can often loot a house and get away. If a zombie hears you break a window, it will probably show up when you're cleaning the glass from it (which takes a little time).

You'll get a warning to stop what you're doing, and if it's just one or two - and just the weaker zombies - lure them away a little bit, onto a bush, and kill them.

If you get inside a house, shut the doors behind you. It takes longer for a zombie to bash down a door. Close the curtains on the windows, to avoid drawing zombies from a distance. But even when they see you, they'll be slowed up in smashing the window and in moving over the windowsill.

If it's just one, kill it while it's on the windowsill. The terrain will slow it down, and chances are it will be cut by the glass a bit, anyway. Otherwise, grab what you can from that room, then go to a different room and shut the door behind you.

You don't want to get trapped in a house, but you can normally open windows from the inside (if you've closed the curtains, you'll open the curtains first), so you can slip out the back and run away while zombies are still struggling through the house.

After all, you need the stuff that's in the houses. At first, you need to find clothing and backpacks which will let you carry stuff, so you might have to search several houses. Make a note of what you have to leave behind.

And if you can't do it during the daytime, try it at night. Make a character with the Night Vision and Light Step traits. At night, zombies won't be able to see you from a distance, and 'Light Step' means that they won't hear you as easily, either.

They can still smell you, though, and they'll follow a scent trail. So get in and get out. If you draw a crowd, get away and try somewhere else. (Or lure those zombies onto rough ground, away from where you want to loot.)

(3) If you don't like your world (surrounded by marshes!), delete it and create a new one. But otherwise, when you die, you can create a new character in that same world. You probably won't start in the same place, but your stuff will still be where you left it, and you'll still have your notes on the map.

Experiment, if you want. Create a bunch of different characters on the same map (sequentially, of course), not expecting any of them to live long, but just to see where they start, what's around, and what a particular build might look like.

If you're dying quickly anyway, don't worry about trying to survive. Just use each character as an opportunity to learn a little more. What's the worse that can happen if you do something suicidal? :)

Create a character and run into town. See how long you can survive just running from everything. Create a new one and run into the nearest forest. See what that's like. Run into a marsh. (Oh, you already did that. Heh, heh.)

Death won't be a problem if you expect to die quickly. So just use this as a learning experience. Once you get the hang of things, you can try to make a character who'll survive. At least for a little while. :)

Anonymous said...

I really want to give this game a go! When I think of all of the time I could waste I just get all tingly! (M1nks)

WCG said...

Heh, heh. You've got that right, M1nks!

It's a lot of fun, but like most games being developed by fans, it's complex and not particularly user-friendly. It's got that Dwarf Fortress "Losing Is Fun" vibe, too.

But if you don't mind dying frequently - and keeping a list of commands handy while you're playing, just to keep track of how you do everything - it's lots of fun. :)

Anonymous said...

My pooch blames you for his lack of a walk this morning...

WCG said...

Heh, heh. No, no, you've got to get your morning walk. That's where you plan out what you want to do next in Cataclysm. :)

Anonymous said...

Die by starving? Die by thirst? Die by being eaten by Zombies?

Yep, That's about the limit of my choices...

Maybe if I could work out how to wait until nightfall but perhaps it's just that I die too quickly. Anytime I get anywhere near a town the Zombies are hot on my tail... So I never have any way to carry water even if I find it. In fact I never really have any way to carry anything at all. Can you drink from a water source without using a container?

Argh - I'm so useless at this game!

WCG said...

Yes, you can drink from a water source by just using your hands (if you hit escape, rather than choosing a container in your inventory, it will ask if you want to drink from your hands), but you'll likely get sick.

OK, you're the second person here who's had trouble getting started, so I just wrote up how to survive one day. :)

I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord, Cataclysm has devoured my soul! I’m finally starting to get a hang things. I followed some newbie starter guides who recommended maxing out ability points if you are new and whether that has helped or if it’s down to my greater experience and copious amounts of luck, I am doing much better. I also started in a new world and my starter location seems to be optimum. I have two cities close (but not too close) to me to the NW and SE. I started out with Bow Hunter and Animal Empathy, Fleet, Night Vision, Soft and Quick? And have Wool allergy, Ugly, Truth Teller, Near Sighted, Forgetful (although skill rust is off so I guess that’s a cheat although I am living up to my name by dropping shit and forgetting where it is – I lost my first crossbow that way) Heavy Sleeper and Glass Jaw.

I have a river very close to me and a forest as well. A swamp is further down the river but I am currently playing Zombie Classic so it isn’t the death trap that it is in your game, in fact it’s a good source of fruits as I still don’t have a way to boil water. I have drunk from the river 3 times, the second time I took 2 drinks as I was pretty thirsty and I thought that it couldn’t get worse. That wasn’t much fun… But it was over quickly which was an improvement on the first time.

I’ve been trying to live a ‘survivalist’ life to suit my Bow Hunter but I think I’m really a disgrace to survivalists everywhere. Anything I make is really an accident. I accidently killed a Moose – being from the southern hemisphere I didn’t really know that these things were dangerous; I saw it and though ‘deer!’. Hmmm, lucky to survive that one! But I successfully butchered it which gave me plenty of meat, bone, a single fur (which I’ve yet to use) and I think some sinew. I also managed to kill 3 zombies by a combination of throwing rocks and wielding my pointy stick. I had ventured over to the city in the SE in the hopes of scouting out an outlying home but the zombies came after long before I got close, which is what happens every time I try this during the daylight. This time though I tried to lure one away and weaken it by throwing rocks. It sort of worked but another two zombies and one rat also joined in the hunt. The last two were further away but I wasn’t able to butcher the corpse as they were too close and I didn’t want to smash it in case I ruined something worthwhile (I’m not sure it doing that would). I also didn’t want it to reanimate after taking the trouble to kill it; being static spawn, each one down is one less to worry about after all, so I decided to try the same strategy with the other two and with a bit of careful manovouring around bushes I knocked the lot out without taking a scratch. Oh and the rat as well 

One other great bit of luck is that I found a whole stack load of traps a little bit outside of the town to the SE. Full of buried bear traps, spike boards and the like. It was where I got my crossbow (both of them as I went back for another when I lost the first one). They both triggered when I tried to disarm them, I managed to dodge the first one but the second time I got hit in the head… ouch! There is also a shotgun trap but I’m really worried about trying to get that. I’m sure a shotgun blast would end me.

Anonymous said...

It finally got dark and I tried to sleep but I didn’t realise how cold it would get and I woke up. I had some spare clothes I could have worn which I pick up off the zombies and I’d repaired it after making myself a bone needle and using the moose sinew as thread. I had also built a stone fireplace inside (took me ages to collect all the 40 rocks I needed) so it was easy to warm back up at least. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep after that so I thought I’d head back to the town. This time no zombies showed up and I snuck into a house on the outskirts. The door just opened – is that normal? It was full of goodies but I couldn’t carry most of it. There was one zombie downstairs which I fortunately criticaled with my crossbow and I finally! found a container. Just one though and I had to leave my crossbow behind to carry it! I am clearly cursed in the crossbow department… I also found a torch which I switched on and merrily kept searching while light was beaming out through the open windows  So, along came Mr Zombies in force and away went I! I noticed my face was smiling as I ran away so it was either the beer I found and drunk or it was my successful raid.

So day 2 has dawned and I am 1. Still Alive!, 2. Well positioned strategically in my evac shelter 3. Have plenty of food and am starting to build up a collection of goods to improve my life BUT I still have no way to hold any water I clean so I desperately need to find another container. Once I have that then I can comfortably settle down without any real need to go anywhere else unless I want to. I will eventually want to get more sophisticated gear but I could spend several days working on getting my Survival, Throwing, Archery, Tailoring etc etc up. As it is I’m heading westwards through the swamp to what looks like another evac shelter on the other side. I need another container desperately so I’m hoping there is something there. Something other than zombies that is. Do zombies infest evac shelters normally? Bah, I’m so ignorant, but I’ll learn!

WCG said...

Nice! I've never tried zombie classic, but you're right, a marsh would be certain death in a standard game.

Re. those traps, you could always lure an enemy into them. Note that there might be buried land mines there as well. I suggest that you don't attempt to disarm them!

Alternately, animals will stumble into traps sometimes, even when you're not deliberately luring them that way.. That won't happen when you're in a different part of the map, though. (You have to be close enough for activity to continue there.) Of course, those shotguns will be out of ammo if the trap has already been sprung.

It looks like you're getting the hang of combat. Nice job. And no, smashing corpses won't destroy any items. You can smash windows, doors, furniture, and corpses, but not items.

Fun, isn't it? In my early games of Cataclysm, I was just terrified all the time and almost always at the ragged edge of death - hungry, thirsty, tired, and in pain. What a vacation! :)

WCG said...

You don't have to wear extra clothes at night. You can just put your spare clothes in a pile - even the ragged stuff you collect from zombies - and sleep on that. You'll automatically use the clothes as blankets.

When you say 'container,' you're talking about plastic bottles, right? Because if you meant some kind of backpack, you could have just worn that (and it would have given you more space to carry stuff, too).

Obviously, you can drop anything you don't need as bad as plastic bottles. It doesn't have to be your weapon. So you must be really short of carrying capacity, huh?

A few tips:

(1) After you kill zombies, don't forget to check them for items. Mostly, they carry clothes - damaged clothes - but sometimes they have other things.

(2) You'll find clothes in bedroom dressers. Note that you won't be able to see everything inside without standing right next to it. But compare carrying capacity with what you're already wearing. That seems to be what you need most right now, so switch clothing if you find something which will let you carry more stuff.

(2) You can carry multiple packs, though you'll take combat penalties. Still, if you're not in combat, feel free to 'wear' multiple purses, for example.

(3) Clothing and packs take up a lot of room in your inventory,... unless you put them on. So if you want to carry more stuff back to the evac shelter, wear it. Put as many hats on your head as you can. Head encumbrance does nothing. On other parts of the body, encumbrance will give you penalties, but if you're not in combat, don't worry about it. (Drop the stuff before you get in a fight and pick it up afterwards.)

(4) You can find food and clean water in refrigerators. It should be especially easy to find plastic bottles there. (If the milk or fruit juice is rotten, 'unload' the container and pour it out on the floor.) If you don't have room to carry it, eat and drink as much as you can. Carry it in your stomach. (Priority is to consume the perishables, of course.)

(5) Check the crafting menu regularly. With a little tailoring skill, a needle and thread (or sinew), and some rags, you can make the stuff you can't find. You can easily make a pouch, for example. It's not as good as a purse or other packs you can find, but it will do in a pinch.

If you find a bunch of clothes you can't carry or wear anyway, cut them into rags (with a scissors, preferably, or a knife) and make yourself something with pockets. You'll waste most of it at low skill levels, but the attempt will still train your tailoring skill (and/or fabrication skill).

(6) Finally, when you go on raids, empty your pockets first. Leave everything you won't need back at the evac shelter, so you can carry more stuff. Wear clothing with pockets - and any packs, of course - and feel free to carry stuff that takes up no room (zero volume items). Take stuff you'll need, like a knife (for butchering) and a needle and thread.

One reason I like to use rocks as missile weapons is that I can always drop them if I need the room to carry more stuff. After all, I can always pick up more rocks, later. This is why I like to use a crowbar as a weapon, too - because it's also useful as a tool, and it will take up room if I have to carry it in my inventory.

If you're using a crossbow as a missile weapon, are you also carrying a melee weapon in inventory? If so, that's probably taking up a lot of room. If you're so short of carrying capacity that you can't even carry a plastic bottle, you need to decide what you need to carry with you and what you can leave behind at the evac shelter.

It sounds like you're doing well, though. Heck, you even found some beer! :)

Anonymous said...

Yes I mean container for carrying liquids. I found a 3.5L glass bottle. My carrying capacity isn’t that bad anymore as the 3 zombies I killed had some cargo pants and a hoodie amongst their clothing. I think I have 32 volume. Basically I just planed it badly. I took my crossbow, a pointy stick and I might have actually been carrying my stone hammer as well. Very silly but live (with luck) and learn. Next raid I’ll be better prepared. I went ready for combat and I probably should have been carrying just a crowbar. Which I’ve yet to make actually – the door I tried was open but is that normal?

Still, I was VERY glad for my crossbow when I came face to face with that zombie in the basement!

WCG said...

Yes, M1nks, some doors are unlocked. Some windows, too, I think, but very few. (Note that you can open doors and windows from the inside, even if they're locked.)

There's nothing wrong with using a crossbow, either. In fact, if you look at it, you might find that you can use it as a melee weapon, too. It won't bash heads as good as a crowbar, but it would still do some damage. Or you can carry a steak knife, or something small like that, which won't take up much room, as your melee weapon.

Oh, and a 3.5 liter glass bottle is a very big bottle, so it's no wonder you had trouble carrying it! That will hold seven times the amount of liquid an ordinary plastic bottle holds (14 drinks of water).

That's awkward for most purposes. I'd use it to get water from a toilet or stream (big containers are very useful for that), but after you boil it, I'd put the clean water into smaller containers.

Anonymous said...

Yes that's the plan :-) I'll be delighted to put my clean water into some smaller containers provided I can ever find some of the feckers!

At this rate I'll be making my own waterskins!