If you've played State of Decay then you've probably got a good handle on what to expect from State of Decay 2, but if it's been a while or you're new to the series here are some top tips that will help make the game easier as you start out.

Treat your survivors like a Pokémon team

Remember when you were a kid and you played Pokémon Red for the first time, and instead of levelling your team equally you just concentrated on getting a wicked hench Charizard? But as soon as you came up against water trainer Misty she totalled your Charizard and then your whole team? That can happen in State of Decay 2.

In State of Decay 2 your survivors level up with an almost RPG-like progression system, where the more they do things the better they get at doing them. At the beginning you'll definitely have one or two members of your team who are a bit more capable -- they'll be better at fighting or shooting and have good cardio. It's tempting to just swap between the most robust survivors you have because they feel the safest out in the big, bad, zombie-filled world, but this is a path to disaster. In the early stages of the game, while there are relatively few zombies and you can scavenge close to home, send out your weaker survivors to build up their skills.This means that your whole team will be more useful to you, and it's less critical to everyone's survival when you do happen to lose anyone. It also makes it easier when pursuing personal goals for your survivors if they're not as soft as a bag of marshmallows.

Rule #1: Cardio

If you don't build up their skills in any other way, at least build up your survivors' cardio by making them run everywhere when they're not in immediate danger. Cardio is both the key to getting away from a fight if you're in danger of being overwhelmed, the determining factor in how many swings you can take, and if you end up being overburdened with supplies you'll be glad of the extra stamina in a pinch.

Get some wheels

You know what stops you being overburdened? Having a car! You can sling a bunch of stuff in the boot of a car, including supply bags (of which a survivor can only carry one). They're also essential for when you start making supply runs further out of town. While you may be tempted to get a flashy sports car, it's better to find something more practical and larger instead. They have more inventory slots and can take more damage from splattering zombies, and many of them have better fuel consumption. Speed doesn't matter that much when you only need to go faster than a zombie.

Search even if you can't loot

There will be occasions when you've filled your boots and can carry no more, but you've still got a few buildings near you that you haven't cleared and searched. If there aren't any infestations or hordes around it's useful to search all the containers anyway, because then the map will tell you which resources are left in that location when you highlight it. This is much more useful when planning future supply runs than a question mark, and will save you time looting when you go back.

Think carefully about your outposts

Outposts supplement your home base. By establishing an outpost you can use it to switch your active survivor, get access to your storage locker, and get a steady source of supplies to send to your home base (depending on the type of outpost. Things like restaurants and fruit stands send food, clinics and vets send meds, unfinished houses send building supplies, and so on and so forth). To start with you can only sustain one outpost, but upgrading your command centre means you can have more.

Initially it's tempting to build your outposts close to home, because it feels safer, but in the long run it won't help you. Instead, you're going to want to establish an outpost in or near each of the main towns on the map. They'll give you a safe staging area for operations in each area, as well as somewhere close by to get medical supplies, fuel or weapons if you run out at any point.

You should also think about what you want to have at your outposts as your needs change. When you're first setting up it's a waste of time to turn a power station or a water tower into an outpost, but later on, when you've got a bigger home base and are setting up a farm, those utilities might be more useful.

It's dangerous to go alone, so take an extra follower

So take a friend! You can have a follower from your home base tag along with you, which is helpful for carrying more stuff if you're on a scavenging mission and for stomping zombie heads if you're not. You can also have a follower join you who's just a random survivor you're helping out in the world on top of the follower you already have This can be really useful -- you can use that second follower to help clear out infestations or take down a Plague Heart before you go and complete the mission they actually want you to do. More meat for the grinder.

Don't bring a gun to a zombie fight

I mean, do, but think carefully about it. You'll get your own style, but for the most part guns are best used when you're taking on a Plague Heart or run into a Feral zombie when you're not expecting it. If you use guns they draw more zombies to you because they're noisy, so unless you're sniping or you're really up against it then take down as many zombies as you can with melee weapons. Bladed ones are great because they're super silent and chop off limbs, but blunt weapons like crowbars are more resilient.

Build a workshop

When you start a community for the first the tutorial will prompt you to build an Infirmary at your home base. This is a solid plan! The infirmary lets you make your own medical consumables like bandages and painkillers, stabilise infection in survivors, and can produce a cure for the blood plague if anyone gets infected. But you should also definitely build a workshop.

With a workshop you can eventually produce makeshift explosives (which are great for destroying plague hearts), but from early on in the game right through to the end you can use it to repair weapons. It can't be understated how useful it is to be able to do that. A broken machete is a useless machete, and a useless machete can't chop zombie heads.

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