First of all, let me be clear about what I mean by “newbie”. A newbie is an inexperienced player of Dead Frontier, regardless of his/her level. That means that a level 220 player can be as newbie as a level 1 player. It happen the same with “veterans”: a veteran player has lots of experience regardless the level of his/her character. In other words, newbies have a limited amount of knowledge about the game, whereas veterans have an extended amount of knowledge about some or most aspects of this game. Related to this point is another where some players think they understand how the game works when in fact they don’t, so it is a sound advice to disregard, at least for the moment, everything you have read, been told or think about how to play the game… I mean, after all you are reading this, don’t you?
Understand what is the objective of the game
It is amazing how many players fail to grasp this basic concept: to kill as many zombies as fast as possible. Everything else is peripheral to this objective. Newbies, therefore, should always keep this question in mind: how am I going to kill even more zombies? With every level you advance, you’ll need many more experience points to level up than the previous one. Therefore, the idea to keep quiet and go unnoticed is as romantic as useless for this game. After the very first levels, finding and killing enough zombies to level up starts to become a major problem and eventually you will want to find a horde of Flaming Titans just to gain 1% of experience from killing them. This is the reason why silent melee weapons shouldn’t be chosen as the first option for newbies: sure you can skin five thousand zombies one by one with your Master Crafted Pen Knife, but it sure is going to take a long time. A shotgun, on the other hand, can do the same much faster. But regardless of your choice of weapon, you’ll need to increase your critical points as much as you dare. Some players say that 80 critical points are enough, but I can attest that 100 critical points should be the bare minimum. Add the extra 24 critical points from Master Crafted weapons and you will be dealing some real damage.
Master Crafted Weapons and Armors
There are many Master Crafted weapons and armors that sell cheap at the Marketplace. Pen Knifes are but one example. You could get a MC Pen Knife with 8 extra critical points for less than $1,000. Armors with a decent agility stat can go as low as $5,000 or as high as $500,000, but they are worth every penny and will boost your stats at earlier levels. Just remember: you are not using the MC item for its damage stat, but for the boost it provides. Using the Pen Knife example above, if you had 3 of such items, your critical points will go up by 24 extra points: almost 3 levels! Some players wants extra accuracy, while others need extra reload, but almost all need and want extra critical points. Besides, getting one of these MC items will allow you to see earlier where you should invest your experience points.
Know your world
The game is played in a fictitious city called Fairview. As any city, Fairview has blocks and streets in which you can find an ample range of assorted places, like houses, markets, office buildings, warehouses, hospitals, police stations, parks and almost everything else a modern city has. In order to make this big city playable, it has been divided into discrete square areas. An area contains several streets and blocks, which may be different for each area. Therefore, you refer to places far away by stating how many areas are separating you from your intended destination. Furthermore, you can walk up, down, left or right, so some survivors would give directions like this: to go from Nastya to Fort Pastor, walk right 29 areas and then walk down another 3 areas (or even simpler like: 29r-3d). A few others use the cardinal points: North for up, West for left, East for Right and South for down. As in the real life, it pays to keep on mind where is home in case you want to go back.
Avoid useless chat
Stopping to say hello to another survivor is a sure way to get you killed by zombies. Indeed it would be useful to exchange road conditions with other players, so as to know that “ahead” there is a boss, but opening your chat window renders you defenseless to nearby zombies. Even at the outposts there is always the danger to get killed by zombies while chatting with somebody, so refrain from doing this as much as possible. Voice chat doesn’t help much either, as your voice chit-chat may cause some game lag and get you killed. Even if this wasn’t a real possibility chatting while playing should be avoided for the same reasons you shouldn’t use your cell phone while driving.
Plan your route
Fairview is a dangerous place. If you walk enough, you’ll certainly find deadlier zombies, so wandering around just for the sake of it is nothing more than a senseless death wish. If you need to go from point A to point B, plan your route before starting your journey. Keep in mind how many areas right, up, down or left you need to walk to reach your destination and avoid checking the map while in route, as nearby zombies will start running at you as soon as you close it. At a constant walking speed, it should take you about a minute to cross one entire area so to travel from Nastya to Fort Pastor should take about half an hour or even more, if you go looting around and/or killing all zombies in your path. Keep this in mind and feed and heal your character before starting your trip. Also, take some food and meds for use while in route. Don’t count in looting what you need when you need it.
Obstacles are good and bad to your health
There are many obstacles lying around. Zombies are mindless monsters with a limited tracking capacity, so obstacles are a good way to trap them, but obstacles can also become death traps if you aren’t carefully enough. Sometimes you may consider there is enough space between two objects to pass between them, only to discover that you couldn’t. If no zombies are following you there is no harm, but imagine otherwise… When in a rush, prefer open spaces and explore those tight spots when there is no danger. When scouting, always ask yourself how you could use that obstacle to your advantage and make a mental note to avoid being trapped in case of emergency.
Keep in mind what is your mission
When you leave the relative safety of the outpost, you are in a mission: going from one place to another, explore certain area or even go hunting for zombies. Most newbies get killed by forgetting what their mission was. For instance, if you want to go from one outpost to another, your mission is to arrive to your destination safely, not to see what you find in your way or how many zombies you can kill before you are overcome by a horde of angry zombies. Also, be aware that you may arrive at your destination at a bad time, like at the middle of an outpost attack, where the last yards are indeed the longest ones! This concept also applies to the game missions: try to understand what are you supposed to do and where, before getting there. Some missions are easier played in Single Player mode while others are best done in Multi Player mode. Once the mission is completed, however, there still remains the little issue of getting back to the outpost alive so as not to lose all the experience points gained. So, staying alive is not really a mission but a mandatory directive. If, when fighting a zombie, you character moans at getting hurt, you are doing it wrong. Of course you are going to get hurt and even killed now and then, but that is what you’ll have to learn to avoid, so learn from your mistakes and correct them. Trying to engage 20 tendrils at the same time with your Katana is stupid… Change to your automatic shotgun and clean the area.
Three weapons for three roles
Your character has three slots for weapons and curiously enough there are three roles that require the use of weapons. Knowing what weapon to use when is vital, but even more is choosing which ones you will be able to use. As stated earlier, melee weapons should be your last option but keep in mind you will need a silent weapon at a later stage and this would be one of the three roles I mentioned. The other two roles are sniping zombies from one side of the screen to the other and crowd control. Machineguns and shotguns are good at crowd control but lousy at sniping zombies; pistols and rifles are good at sniping zombies but lousy at crowd control. Some combination of weapons work and some don’t. For instance, rifle and shotgun are excellent, whereas machinegun and shotgun are the worst possible combination. All weapons require critical points, but pistols and machineguns require accuracy, while rifles and shotguns don’t. Therefore, you second priority should be to increase your reloading points and your third, just in case you choose to wield pistols and machineguns, should be accuracy. Chainsaws are a curious weapon that requires you increase your endurance (in addition to your critical points) to be wielded successfully; in essence, a poor choice for a newbie.
Learn to dance
Very often, when you are looting, a nearby zombie approaches and takes a swing at you. You could take a step to the side, while keeping pressed the E key, to avoid being hit as you continue looting. It is easy to dance this with one zombie, but not so when there are more but with practice and fast reflexes you could be dancing with three or more zombies at the same time. This skill is not only useful to loot but also to keep you alive. Another step to this dance is making tight circles around a zombie (very useful with fire zombies and spiders) always facing the side of your opponent whilst using whatever you wield as a weapon. It should be obvious by now, but let me state it as clearly as possible: never attack zombies front to front, but from their sides or back. Also, with the exception of one curious glitch, zombies can’t be pushed around. The secret to successful survival is keep moving always, but try to avoid running as much as possible. The last step of this dance is more complex: circle around massive bosses. As most bosses are faster than any player and tougher, you’ll need to move around shooting at it, but big circles are most difficult to perform than small ones. In any case, keep your eyes open for sudden changes of direction.
Conserve your energy
Getting from one place to another takes long time, so it is only natural to try to speed things a bit by running. Problem is you never know when you are going to need all your energy to run away from a worst case scenario. Every time you enter a new area, you should have 100% of energy available, just in case you need to move fast in there. Try to wait a few seconds while you regain some energy before crossing to the next area; at the very least, you know what lies behind but not ahead of you, and you could be running to meet your own death. A good tip is once you have entered a new area, run until your energy meter drops to 90% and then walk until it goes up to 100%. If you do this correctly, you should end running for about 4 seconds and walking for about 4 seconds, having enough energy to run up to the next area. If you see zombies running to you, just dodge them without running for as long as possible. Once they are behind you, most zombies won’t be able to hit you, but beware if there is a horde pushing the zombies at the front, as they will be moving faster than usual. The bottom line is always try to recognize what are you going to run from before you actually start running.
Attack what you can kill fast
It is not sensible to attack a zombie you can’t kill. If you need to provide two or three hits before killing a zombie, improve your stats and get better weapons and meanwhile concentrate on lower level zombies. The reason for this advice is that enraged zombies increase the surrounding aggressivity very fast. That is, if you take too long killing an infected, other zombies will notice that and will attack you, causing even more zombies to take notice and follow suit. If you are confronting several zombies, target one until you kill it and the do the same with the next and so on until you have finished them all.
Prioritize your targets
All zombies have a basic attack: they approach you, stop and take a swing at you. If you learn their movements it is easier to anticipate and “dance” with them. But as there are many special zombies with special attack movements, it is of vital importance to kill some of them first. Spiders and tendrils are your top priority because they move really fast and can kill you with a few hits. Reapers, brutes and irradiated zombies are your second priority, because they don’t need to be extremely close to hurt you. Your third priority should be leapers because even if they are quite slow, they can kill you with one hit and usually are mingled among spiders, tendrils and the other zombies making it harder for you to have some elbow room to defend against all of them.
More to come
I have many other tips but those will have to wait… Meanwhile, enjoy the game!