No matter what you do, eventually you will have to fight – be it for loot, to rescue a survivor, or defending your base against an attack. There are thousands of demons out there and they are bigger, stronger and meaner than us. You have but one advantage: your brains. Now read carefully, I am about to explain some concepts that you need to know to become a good tactician and teach those bloody demons a lesson or two.
1. Basic Stats
Weapons and Armor have several stats such as Damage, Attack Speed, Range, Evasion and Armor. Attack speed is how many attacks per 7.5 seconds can be done with this weapon, and damage indicates the amount of damage per attack. DPS is calculated from these two values and is shown for convenience. DPS vs armor is the amount of damage done against an enemy with 5 armor. Another important stat is Accuracy, which determines how easy it is to hit enemies with this weapon. We will explain all these calculations in depth later in the guide.
We are going to talk a lot about different bonuses and penalties. Most of them are calculated as a percentage of their base stat, and then added to it: a +10% bonus to Accuracy, with a weapon that has a base Accuracy of 50, will yield a total accuracy of 55 (50 + 5), not 60, even though the Accuracy stat itself is percentage based (chance to hit). If there are multiple bonuses or penalties, they are all added up and then applied to the base stat: if you have a +20%, a +10 % bonuses to Accuracy, and the base value is 50, the final bonus will be +30%, and the final Accuracy rating will be 65 (50 + 15).
2. Accuracy and Evasion
Accuracy and Evasion determine how often an attack will hit its target. The base Accuracy is determined by the weapon, and the base Evasion is determined by the armor (unarmored base Evasion is 20). Each attack, the chance to hit is equal to the Accuracy of the attacker, minus the Evasion of the target, with a minimum hit chance of 30%.
For example, a survivor wielding a Jericho (60 Accuracy) that has no bonuses, has an Accuracy rating of 60. If this survivor attacks an Imp (10 Evasion), 50% (60 – 10) of the shots will hit their target. If this survivor has the Marksmanship skill (+20% Accuracy), then his accuracy increases to 72 (60 + 20%), and 62% of the shots will hit (72 – 10).
Since Evasion is directly subtracted from the Accuracy, a high Evasion rating becomes much more effective against low Accuracy attacks. An Evasion rating of 25 against an Accuracy rating of 50 will reduce the number of hits by 50% (instead of hitting 50% of the time, it will only hit 25% of the time – half a much!). On the other hand, the same Evasion rating of 25 against an Accuracy rating of 100 will only reduce the number of hits by 25% (it will hit 75% of the time instead of 100%). The exception to this rule is when the Accuracy is so low that you hit the minimum value. A 25 Evasion rating against a 25 Accuracy rating will only decrease the amount of hits from 25% to 20% (20% less hits).
One last thing - moving targets are harder to hit, they gain a +20% bonus to their base Evasion skill as long as they’re moving. That doesn’t mean it’s always better to run, since usually that means turning your backs on your enemies, which is a bad thing that we will explain soon.
3. Damage, Armor and Attack Speed
Just like Accuracy and Evasion, the Damage and Armor rating determine how much health is lost per hit. The Armor rating is directly subtracted from the Damage rating (with a minimum of 1). Attack Speed determines how many attacks will be performed per 5 seconds. An Attack Speed rating of 10 indicates 10 attacks per 5 seconds, so 2 attacks per second.
Against targets with high Armor rating, you should prefer slower weapons that deal more Damage (such as a Shotgun), rather than fast weapons that deal low Damage (such as Uzi). For example, attacking a legion with an Uzi will only deal 2 damage per shot (12 Damage vs 10 Armor), at a rate of 2 shots per second (10 Attack Speed), for a very low 4 DPS. Using the Shotgun deals 40 damage per shot (50 Damage vs 10 Armor), at a rate of 0.5 shots per second (2.5 Attack Speed), for a much higher DPS of 20.
On the other hand, when fighting large groups of weaker enemies, such as Hellhounds (15 health 0 armor), the faster weapons are much more effective. An Uzi can kill a hellhound with 2 hits, so one hellhound per second. The Shotgun will kill a hellhound in one hit, but since it fires only one shot every 2 seconds, it can only kill a Hellhound every 2 seconds, making the Uzi two times more effective against this particular enemy.
Don’t rush to battle like a drunk berserker – your enemies will be happy to use you as target practice. Take your time, plan ahead, and carefully position your survivors.
When attacking from behind cover, ranged attacks receive a bonus Accuracy of 35% of the cover rating. In addition, everyone gets a bonus of 70% of the cover rating to their Evasion, when defending against ranged attacks from the other side of the cover.
For example, a Barrel that is commonly found in combat has a cover rating of 50. That means that ranged fighters attacking from behind a Barrel get a +17.5% (35% of 50) Accuracy bonus, and a huge +35%(70% of 50) Evasion bonus against ranged attacks. Unarmored survivors behind a Barrel will be hit by the dreaded Reapers (55 Accuracy) 20% less often than if they were not behind cover.
Always try to position your ranged fighters behind cover, and use the best cover you can find. Bus remains that can sometimes be found in scavenge areas have a cover rating of 80 and can be used to completely turn the tides of battle. Sometimes it’s better to keep your melee fighters behind cover as well, defending your ranged fighters from enemy melee units that may get too close, rather than charging at the ranged enemies without any cover.
Note that Cover has no effect against point blank attacks, either melee or ranged.
If you want to survive, you must be crafty. Don’t just face that full-fledged Demon head on. Attack him from behind!
A Flanking bonus is received when attacking enemies from behind or from the sides. Flanking gives a huge +30% bonus to damage and +20% to accuracy. Therefore, you should try to surround and flank your enemies – but without exposing your own back to other enemies that may flank you back.
A warning: there are times when fleeing is the best option, but keep in mind that as soon as you turn to run, your enemy will get a flanking bonus – so be sure to run away when you can still take a few more hits!
It’s usually better to split your ranged units and attack from different sides, and if you manage to position your enemies between your melee units and your ranged units, you can fight them hand-to-hand while sniping them from behind! That is a great way to win a battle against overwhelming odds.
6. Ranged and melee
There are two kinds of weapons: melee weapons for close combat (clubs, knifes, quarterstaff, etc.), and ranged weapons (bows, guns, etc.). For obvious reasons, dealing damage from a safe distance seems like an advantage, but ranged weapons also have disadvantages in close combat.
Defending against melee attacks with a ranged weapon is difficult, giving Melee weapons a +30% Accuracy bonus when attacking a ranged combatant. In addition, when using a ranged weapon in point blank distance (adjacent tile) there is a -35% Accuracy penalty.
In most cases, it will be better to have a balanced team with both ranged and melee weapons. Ranged weapons powerful, they allow you to deal damage to your enemies while they approach you, and they allow for more tactical positioning options – but you may need melee fighters to protect your marksmen if they take out all the enemies before they close the distance.
On the other hand, you can play this to your advantage: if you know for a fact you will face only (or mostly) ranged enemies, equip your team with melee weapons and lure them into a trap! Lure them to chase you around a building and ambush them just around the corner.
Don’t forget that you have more than just weapons and armor at your disposal: survivors may carry one additional piece of equipment that can turn the tide of a battle. Some of these are consumable (such as Med-Kits and Grenades), so you need to craft or find more to replace the ones you use. Others may provide constant passive bonuses (such as Shields), and a few can be used a certain amount of times per combat but are not consumed (like the Sandalwood Bracelet).
Any equipment that is not passive will have to be manually activated, by selecting the relevant survivor, choosing the matching action from the action bar at the top of the screen, and then choosing a target.
Equipment has a wide range of effects, such as healing (Med-Kits), boosting your survivors (Protection Spells), damaging enemies (Grenades), or weakening them (Hex Doll). They may be expensive and hard to come by, and the amount of uses per combat is limited. Use them wisely, make the best tactical choices according to the situation. Hex Dolls are great against heavy damage dealers and Dark Angels because of their long range and large penalty on Accuracy. Flashbangs and Grenades are great for a large concentration of enemies. Defensive bonuses are great when used on strong, heavily armored survivors that run straight at the enemy and draw their fire, while others take them out from afar. Always have some Med-Kits handy to heal survivors between encounters, and even while fighting, it can sometimes be better to heal a survivor rather than run away and have them turn their back to their enemies.
Consumables are lost after the fight if you use them in combat at least once, even when they have more charges that were not used. Med-Kits, for example, have 2 uses per item, but if you only use it once, the Med-Kit is still lost after the fight, so you may as well use it a second time and leave the field with higher health. Used consumables are automatically re-equipped after combat, if you have enough spares in your inventory.
8. Additional tips
All these factors may seem complex... However, you won’t need to make all these calculations all the time. You just need to be aware of how things work and make the best of it. If you are having a hard time against a particularly nasty group of demons, then you have the tools to sit down and plan how to beat them. For instance, hellhounds deal a lot of damage, but are easy to kill, so just hit them as soon as you see them. On the other hand, ghosts have the highest Evasion, so it’s best if you face them with as much accuracy as possible, from behind cover. Dark angels have a huge range and high accuracy, so fight them with high armor or sniper rifles from behind cover. And hex them if needed!
Here are a few more tips.
- Try not to fight unprepared and without a plan. Choose a position with good cover and place your team there. Send someone with a high Evasion rating to explore and lure enemies back to your well positioned team. Your ranged combatants should be guarding your back, able to fire on approaching enemies, and sometimes even surround them in a pincer movement to get that sweet flanking bonus.
- Kill the highest damage dealing enemy first. Focus your ranged attacks on it until it’s dead, then move on to the next most dangerous enemy. Sometimes focusing your attack on a strong enemy that is behind cover, without any flanking bonus, will be smarter than having different survivors attack different enemies just to get that flanking or cover bonus.
- Try to focus how you train your survivors. It’s better to have a survivor with +50% bonus to melee weapons, than have one with +30% bonus to melee and +30% bonus to range. While being versatile gives you more options, they only equip one weapon at a time, and will always be weaker than a specialized survivor with their weapon of choice.
- Don’t forget to equip your survivors based on their skills. A survivor with skills that provide bonus to Evasion should be equipped with an armor with high base Evasion like Kevlar Armor or a Camouflage Vest, rather than a cumbersome but strong armor like Demonite Armor. The percentage based bonuses are far more effective when the base value is higher.
- You can pause time as much as you want. Use this option! Calmly assess the situation and give commands. Your enemies are greater in number and stronger, take your time and plan carefully, or you are not likely to survive many battles.
Good luck out there, survivor. May the fates favor you in the battlefield!